Sunday 21 September 2014


On the 17th of September, 2014, I delivered a lecture to participants in the Senior Executive Course 36 of the National Institute for Policy & Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru. The lecture title's "Nigeria: Conflict resolution in industrial relations for labour productivity & national development".

The main thrust of the paper is that conflict is inevitable in any organization. The way we manage conflict could damage or consolidate industrial relations (IRS). The current content of conflict resolution (CR) strategies in the labour sector that fuels strikes, lockouts and trade disputes is interrogated with a view to evolving alternative and/or complimentary methods of achieving industrial harmony (IH).

The contention here is that the extant strategies for the enhancement of industrial peace should be improved upon for sustainable government-management-worker relations in Nigeria. It is suggested that resort to the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP), should be a last resort.

Mediation, a tool of CR, and other appropriate methods should be employed to prevent the escalation of conflicts which impede labour productivity (LP) and by extension, national development (ND). The author prescribes specific adjustments and paradigm shift for government, employers and workers to achieve IH for ND via greater efficiency of the workforce.

The recommendations for the enhancement of LP in organizations, which could eventually translate to growth and development are as follows:

1) The financial sector should be more responsive to the needs of the real sector for investment. The labour sector should be more flexible.

2) Government must fund business-related research and provide greater direct support for innovation.

3) The intellectual property environment, including copyright and patents, should be strengthened to  encourage private initiatives.

4) The government's current effort to improve the macro-economic environment and re-orientate its budgetary allocation to favour social and economic infrastructure should be stepped up.

5) There is an urgent need to address the observed technological weaknesses in Nigeria with a view to infusing more research and development (R&D) activity. There is need to improve the country's capacity to absorb technological innovation.

6) The existing institutional linkages need to be strengthened across business firms, technology departments of Universities/Polytechnics and government research laboratories.

7) In the event of any organizational conflict, the personalities involved in Union activities should not be attacked either by management or government.

8) Management should give room for bargaining, rather than using coercion, for example, sign-up register. Many of those who sign back do so under duress.

9) There should be adequate communication among Union members so they have a common front before engaging management and/or government.

10) At no time should trade unionism be banned or prohibited by either management or government.

11) Rigidity should be eliminated during negotiations between workers/unions and management/government. Such negotiations should be "open".

12) I n the event of any industrial conflict, all in-house mechanisms for resolution should be explored in tandem with mediation and other forms of CR. The IAP should be the last resort.

13) Employers and employees should agree to disagree.

14) Mechanisms should be put in place for the detection of early warning signs (EWS) of conflict. Prevention is always better than cure.

15) There is need to strengthen and utilize existing labour relations mechanisms to facilitate continuous interface between government, workers and management so that differences are narrowed and frustrations re-channeled.

16) The Ministry of Labour & Productivity (MLP) should put in place alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms.

17) The use social dialogue needs to be intensified in the management of disputes.

18) The Planning, Research & Statistics (PRS) department of the MLP should be alive to its responsibilities by engaging in periodic surveys to determine consumer price indices and level of inflation. This would enable the MLP advise government as regards wages accordingly.

19) Government should always respect and implement agreements reached with workers' unions to forestall unpalatable face-off with the Unions.

20) Conspicuous consumption on the part of political office holders (POHs) and some public officers, fuelled by corruption should be curtailed. It is usually a sore point for workers.

21) Jumbo salaries paid to POHs, which is perceived to be disproportionate to the amount of "work' done by each and everyone of them, should be re-examined. This could be a source of industrial conflict.

22) Clear and unambiguous criteria should be formulated and regularly updated by the MLP for the assessment of the level of productivity of all public officers.

23) A worker's level of productivity, rather than "seniority" in the civil service should be the major criterion for determining eligibility for promotion.

The foregoing are some of the recommendations that could engender increased productivity in an atmosphere of industrial harmony. ADR skills are the engine oil of the industrial harmony machine. Without peace in IRS within organizations, IH would remain an illusion which could hamper LP and consequently national development.

Related Links

*How climate influences productivity
*Websites, blogs for conflict resolution skills
*When is it right to blame?
*Peace is within reach: 3 tips for managing family conflicts
*7 Apps that will help you improve yur productivity
*10 reasons not to measure impact: What to do instead (SSIR)
*If evaluators cannot make it to the field, they can always observe from space 
*Flexible working improves productivity
*How multi-tasking can make us less productive    thriveglobal,com/stories/how-multitasking-makes-us-less-productive/
*7 tactics for instant productivity & positivity  
*What is Conflict Resolution, and how does it work?
*How much sleep do I need? - Online Sleep Calculator
*Productivity tips for procrastinators
*Time management skills, strategies, tools & research
*Need to be more productive, but not sure why it matters?
*What you are getting wrong about your pursuit of productivity
*How to keep remote workers productive & happy
*Ways to boost your productivity while at home
*What to do when producivity becomes a problem or you, and how to fix it
*Being Productive vs Being Busy
*3 ways being empathic can make you more productive at work
*Why being a quitter actually helps you to succeed: Quitting as a productivity habit
*Experience of ex-Googlers at work: On productivity & culture
*Private property, not productivity, precipitated the Neolithic agriculture revolution
*The secret of being more productive everyday comes down to hundreds of small decisions
*How to increase productivity while working from home
*How to stay productive at work, while managing CoV fear
*The productivity check list; 21 ways to getting more done - Edirin Edewor          
*Productivity rules by Elon Musk
*How to move your team towards productive collaboration, not silent competition
*Self compassion & productivity
*The best way to boost your productivity without even trying
*4 ways to be more productive, not just busy
*What if I can't always be productive?
*SuperCompetent: The six keys to perform at your productive best by Laura Stack
*Employee monitoring is not the way to increase productivity
*8 ways to increase your productivity in the workplace
*How to use Online Time Tracking to optimise employee safety and productivity
*People who brag about being in back-to-back meetings deeply misunderstand productivity
*7 techniques to boost your productivity