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Joshoyin (2007) define collective bargaining as a machinery for discussion and negotiation whether formal or informal, between employer(s) and workers, representatives, aimed at reaching mutual agreement or understanding on the employers and the worker, according to Glueck (1982) collective bargaining implies the right, not only to disagree but to express such disappointment collective bargaining which refers to the joint negotiation of term of employment of their representative which the life blood of trade union that constitutes joint consultation that call the forum discussing issues of mutual interest between workers and the employers. To establish the principle of collective bargaining as the basis of relationship between the employer require a strong and well-organised trade union movement which involves the various levels of organization, industries and national level (include the Nigeria Labour Congress).

In accordance with the Article 2 of international labour organization (ILO) convention No. 154, the principle of collective bargaining is the process of determining working conditions or terms of employment regulating relation between employer and workers, regulating between employers or the organization and worker organizations.

The federal ministry of employment, labour and productivity see the concept of bargaining as a negotiation about working conditions and terms of employment between an employer, a group of employer, or one or more employer and one or more representative of workers organization with a view to reaching agreement, collective bargaining on the other hand is a machinery for discussion and negotiation whether formal or internal between employers and worker(s) and workers representatives aimed at reaching mutual agreement or understanding on the general employment relationship between the employer(s) and workers. The conclusion and an agreement is necessary determinant of collective bargaining thus, the labour act of 1974 defines it as the process of arriving at attempting to arrive at, a collective agreement.


The following pre-requisites are recognized in any collective bargaining according to Attach (1992).

  1. The parties must attain a sufficient degree of organization
  2. They must posses the necessary skills to manage the intricacies of bargaining process
  3. They must be ready to enter agreement with each other within framework of the machinery established the purpose
  4. Collective bargaining concluded must be observed by those to whom they apply
  5. Deadlock should be recognized as an indication of failure on both sides

In assessing the viability or otherwise of the collective bargaining process in Nigeria, we must use the four criteria stated above on the basis of these, our judgment is that collective bargaining seems to have a viable future in Nigeria. The changes that have occurred in labour laws and the system of industrial relations since 1973 have by and large, resulted in these conditions being satisfied, the trade union have been restricted in these conditions bargain satisfied, the trade union have been restructured along industrial liner with vastly improved strength and status and have a reasonable degree of parity of bargaining power with the employers, secondly there has been a remarkable growth of counterpart employers association willing and able to negotiate in good faith and who have in fact entered into procedural agreement with trade unions as the framework for voluntary collective bargaining. Thirdly, under the trade Dispute Act 1976, collective bargaining is made pre-requisite for the settlement of trade disputes, finally with the improvement of the primary and secondary school system during the last twenty years, most workers are literate and therefore are able to have better appreciation of the issues at stake in collective bargaining.

There are other pre-requisite apart from the above four main ones, they are as follows:

  1. Favourable Political Climate: For collective bargaining to function effectively, the politician climate on which both parties operate must be favourable e.g. favourable government policies, terms of its beliefs in collective bargaining public and economic policies. Both parties most also be convinced that collective bargaining is the best method for regulation employment conditions, hostility against workers from joining unions is an example of favourable political climate.
  1. Freedom of Association: Workers must be free to organize themselves into trade unions as well as be free to join union of their choices, for effective bargaining to occur, where they are denied this freedom and right in such a situation, collective bargaining does not exist. An example of a situation of a denied freedom of association was the restructure exercise of 1978, when people complained that the system does not allow workers to join unions of their choices. Also it is impracticable for Nigeria union to joint central labour organization of their choice since the Nigeria labour congress (NLC) is the only one available. Some company organized what is called company dominated trade unions to hinder the formation of free association by workers, of the company feel that the leadership of trade union may be militant it result to organizing some of the loyal workers into company dominated union.

The stability of Workers Organization: Even workers are free to join union, if such union is weak and unstable, it cannot encourage effective collective bargaining. Also if the membership of such union is few and weak – management may not recognize it for collective bargaining purpose one other factor which helps stability of trade unions if financial self sufficiency. This happens where a union is able to collect it dues from members and such a union would be able to attract good leadership in terms of personnel weak union that is financially unstable or sufficient would be bluffed off by the management.


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