The roles of trade unions in tertiary institutions
THE ROLES OF TRADE UNIONS IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS
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
Similarly, unions such as ASUP, SSANIP and NASU are major Trade Unions
that exist and operate freely in the Nigerian Polytechnics, Colleges of
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:
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
Also, Trade Unions are to advance the education and training of members.
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
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
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.