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The roles of trade unions in tertiary institutions

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The roles of trade unions in tertiary institutions

  1. 1. THE ROLES OF TRADE UNIONS IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS BY ONIKE RAHAMAN The operation of the Trade Unionism is predicated upon the principles of rights. In employer-employee relations, freedom of Association is an issue of serious consideration. Employers of labour have certain duties towards the employees, while the employees also have responsibilities to perform in labour relations. In essence, the relationship should be reciprocal in nature. In tertiary institutions setting, workers have the rights under the labour law to form or belong to any union of their choice. Membership of Trade Union is however voluntary. Where Trade Unionism is encouraged, staff rights are usually protected. Some of the existing Trade Unions in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions are named based on their peculiar mandate, operational environment, membership and organizational structure. In the Nigerian University System, Unions such as ASUU, NASU, and SSAUTHRIAI are perpetrated depending on professional cadre, career structure and status of the members. Similarly, unions such as ASUP, SSANIP and NASU are major Trade Unions that exist and operate freely in the Nigerian Polytechnics, Colleges of
  2. 2. Education in Nigeria. Employers in Tertiary Institutions are either State or Federal Government as represented by the Governing Council or Management as the case may be. Trade Unions perform related functions and have similar objectives in Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria as highlighted below: Enlightenment Functions: It is indeed one of the major responsibilities of Trade Union to educate and enlighten the members on their expected duties within an organization. The Unions are also to create awareness on right limitations and to assist in inculcating the right norms and values on the employees. Also, the unions are expected to ensure good and effective organizational behaviour in any Tertiary Institution. Also, Trade Unions are to advance the education and training of members. Right Protection: The role of Trade Union includes protection of right of the workers. The Unions are also to prevent any infringement on the rights of the workers. Where workers are unjustly treated, it is the Union that usually come to the rescue.
  3. 3. Guaranteeing Job Security for the Employees: The Unions whose leadership are effective are expected to guarantee the job security of the members. With a virile Union in place, cases of arbitrary termination of appointment or rationalisation would be minimal. Negotiating for an Improved Staff Condition of Service: It is within the mandate of the Trade Union in Tertiary Institutions to negotiate and strive towards better condition of service for both Junior and Senior Staff or Academic and Non-Academic members of staff. Of equal importance is the fact that Trade Unions are expected to maintain just and proper hours of work, fight for leave entitlement for members of staff and ensure that acceptable wages and salaries are paid to workers. Ensuring Good Employer-Employee Relationship in Tertiary Institutions: Obviously, Trade Unions are expected to promote and regulate relations between members and their employers. Besides, it resolves conflicts between the employers and the employees. In discharging this responsibility, the Unions have the power to negotiate, bargain or perform the role of arbitrators in the resolution of trade disputes. There are various approaches the Unions may adopt in pressing for their demands:
  4. 4. Consultation Dialogue Bargaining Compromises Petition Writing Strike/Industrial Action Protest/Demonstration Judicial Action Encouraging Staff Towards High Professionalism: With membership of the Trade Unions, individuals/employees are encouraged to struggle for an improved career development and this could provide opportunities for them to achieve high standard of workmanship and professional practices. By ONIKE RAHAMAN (07033902827)

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