The Role of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria

Scientific Study, 2019

83 Pages


Table of Contents

1 Chapter One
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Background to the study
1.3 Statement of the problem
1.4 Objectives of the study
1.5 Research questions
1.6 Purpose of the study
1.7 Scope of the study
1.8 Significance of the study
1.9 Limitation of the study
1.10 Operational definition of Term
1.11 Research methods

2 Chapter two. Review of Related Literature
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Conceptual framework
2.3 Theoretical framework
2.4 Industrial disputes
2.5 Conflict
2.6 National Industrial Court of Nigeria
2.7 Previous Empirical studies

3 Chapter Three. Research Methodology
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Research design
3.3 Population of study
3.4 Sample size
3.5 Sampling procedure/ Technique
3.6 Instruments for Data Collection
3.7 Process of Data Collection
3.8 Method of Data Analysis
3.9 Validity of the instrument
3.10 Reliability

4 Chapter four. Data Presentation, Analysis and Interpretation
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Demographic Data of respondents
4.3 Analysis of Respondents responses on the questionnaires variables:
4.4 Discussion and interpretation of findings
4.5 Summary

5 Chapter Five. Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Summary
5.3 Conclusion
5.4 Recommendations

6 References

7 Appendix



The study examines the role of National Industrial Court of Nigeria in disputes resolution with the aim of highlighting the functions and challenges facing ‘the court’ and its implication for country as a means of promoting industrial harmony both for foreign investments and the domestic economy. The examination isolated the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja for examination in order to have access to relevant information and its proximity to the researcher. The research is guided by four research questions designed to establish the essence, raison d’etre and challenges facing ‘the court.’ The examination has a general objective to examine the activities of NIC of Nigeria in dispute resolution. Two research approaches were employed in the examination: doctrinal and empirical methods. On doctrinal method selected literature were examined to address the research questions, while on the use of empirical the examination featured three stages selected with a criterion as purposive sample and applied an unstructured interview schedule derived from the purpose of study as the instrument for data generation. Frequency distributions were used to analyze data. The findings indicate: that NICN has not effectively carry out its mandate of disputes resolution; NICN has many constitutional constraints impending on its performance; there is dearth of publicity of ‘the court’ and; ‘the court’ not sufficiently spread to enable labor and stakeholders across Nigeria to benefit from it raison d’etre. The study concluded that heightened publicity about ‘the court’ should be made; ‘the court’ should be spread to enable users to asses it functions; and the status of the court as superior court of record clearly defined in the constitution of the federal republic to avoid ambiguity. The research suggested that a comparative study of NICN with other courts with similar mandate such as the Labor Court of India be carried out with the view of ascertaining the global best practices.

Key Word: National, Industrial court, Disputes resolution

1 Chapter One

1.1 Introduction

1.0 Introduction Dr Tunji Olaopa, a former Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Communication Technology posits that “ one of the unfortunate ironies of our national evolution” is that it is “from mere speculations that we are informed about what could have been a dimension of our national life” (Leadership Newspaper, August 29, 2014). But then, how speculation comes into this issue of Study of National Court of Nigeria in Disputes Resolution? We speculates about the statutes of the Court; we speculate about its jurisdiction and we even speculate whether there is a labor specialized court in the country because the awareness of its existence is not created; and we speculate even whether its judgment is enforceable on parties amongst other speculations.

These speculations may also be confirmed through the observation made by Hon. Justice Babatunde Adeniran Adejumo, President of The National Industrial Court in a lecture delivered at University of Abuja on18th September 2008 and entitled “The Role of National Industrial Court in Disputes Resolution in Nigeria, that:

“Many people in Nigeria including some of our friends at the bar do not know or understand what NIC means or stands for. Some have not taken the pains of searching for the Act establishing the court talkless of sighting the Rules of the Court. The few that have heard about the Court are having the view that the court is still operating under the Trade Disputes Act 2006 as amended and the Rules of Court made under.”

This study, therefore, is an attempt to reduce the level of speculations. Thus, in this chapter a cursory look is taken to examine the background of the study; statement of the problem; objectives of the study; research questions; purpose, scope and significance methods and definition of terms.

1.2 Background to the study

The recent strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that lasted from November 5, 2018 until the eve of the just concluded 2019 election is a cause of concern to all well meaning Nigerians especially scholars who are very much aware of the colossal loss economically, socially and more so academic-wise to the country as a whole. Besides, other trade unions under the auspices Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have also indicated their opting for strike as the only way of achieving their demand from Government, thereby paralyzing the socio-economic development of the country ( ‘minimum wage: labor rejects FG’s proposal’ by Olufemi Atoyebi).

Individuals and even private corporations had also been found using confrontation as the only means of positing their dissatisfaction over policy and treatment as it were. One is then constrained to ask where is the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) whose mandate is fundamentally to handle trade disputes with dispatch within days. Some people are not approaching the Industrial Court fundamentally because they do not know of its existence while others yet do not do so because its status over the years has been contended, thus great number do not have confidence in the National Industrial Court of Nigeria. Often times aggrieved parties resort to seeking redress in other courts other than the National Industrial Court (NIC) even when scholars have taken time to explain the role of the NIC in trade dispute resolution (Agomo, (2012)

It is in this regard that NIC of Nigeria is reviewed by several scholars. Although the Court has been in operation over four decades, it is often asked whether there is a National Industrial Court in Nigeria where trade disputes could be taken to for resolution by aggrieved parties with the current wave of strikes and violent extremism in the country. Conflict is inevitable but much can be done to reduce conflict and thereby release needed energies for more productive tasks’ as it were (Aturu, 2013).

Therefore, expediting action when negotiation is on is vital because inefficient management of industrial disputes compromises socio-economic stability of countries. In developed economies, the mechanism for easier resolution of these disputes is often clearly identifies. It is probably to replicate international best practices and create a contemporary dispute resolution mechanism that gave impetus to the establishment, in its previous and current forms, of the National Industrial Court. Its brief appeared concise- to adjudicate on all issues emanating from industrial relations and labor market breakdown (Aturu, 2013).

According to Akubuiro (2003) the NIC has the responsibility for the determination of the disputes referred to it by the Minister of Labor. Besides, Aturu (2005) opines that the National Industrial Court has an exclusive jurisdiction to: Make final awards for the purpose of settling the disputes referred to it; and determine questions regarding the interpretation of any awards made by the industrial arbitration panel and the terms of settlement.

Fagbemi (2014) while also commenting on the role of the National Industrial Court argue that the NIC “is a court empowered to adjudicate trade disputes, labor practices, matters related to the Factories Act, Trade Disputes Acts, Trade Unions act, workmen’s Compensations Act and appeals from the industrial Arbitration Panel.”

Oyearu (2015) while commenting on the reason for the establishment of the NIC affirmed that “inefficient management of industrial disputes compromises socio-economic stability of countries,” Furthermore, Andrew posits that the NIC “brief appeared concise- to adjudicate on all issues emanating from industrial relations and labour market breakdown. As was to transpire, the course to attaining this objective has been a difficult but critically necessary one.”

Thus, it is the course of this study to assess the problems and challenges that has made NIC’s course of attaining its objective difficult and suggest ways to address them which these previous scholars shy away from.

1.3 Statement of the problem

Adejumo (2008) opines that “Many people in Nigeria including some of our friends at the law do not know or understand what NIC means or stand for.” Thus, such knowledge and awareness gap need to be addressed. Aturu (2005) argues that “The National Industrial Court hardly gets any meaningful public attention in spite of its importance to the Justice delivery system” Aturu advocates the need to clarify its jurisdiction. Oluwadunsin (2018) posits that many stakeholders do not have confidence in the NIC. To illustrates, Oluwadunsin(2018) asserts “To my own understanding, ASUU has lacked confidence in NIC for long. The body is quickly influenced by federal government “I don’t really believe in its judgment anytime there is dispute between ASUU and Federal Government.” Onyearu (2015) opines that in regulating dispute in labor relations in Nigeria ‘the NIC has overtime failed in its mandate. Thus it is vital to critically examine why there are these challenges and then suggest what would be put in place to avert them in the future.

1.4 Objectives of the study

The general objective of this research work is to examine the activities of NIC of Nigeria in dispute resolution. The specific objectives are:

(1) To find out the mandate of NICN in trade dispute resolution;
(2) To highlight important cases handled by NICN;
(2) To examine the extent at which the mandate of NIC has been effectively carried;
(3) To examine the challenges faced by the NIC in dispute resolution;
(4) To suggest ways of improving NIC’s performance.

1.5 Research questions

The following research questions guided the study.

1. What is the mandate of NIC in trade dispute resolution?
2. What celebrated cases have been handled by NICN?
3. To what extent has NICN been able to carry out its mandate effectively and efficiently?
4. What challenges are encountered by NICN in discharging its dispute resolution mandate?
5. What are ways of improving NICN’s performance?

1.6 Purpose of the study

The study sought to find out the essential nature and significance of the NICN as ground for promotion of harmony between employers and employees of labor in Nigeria. It specifically sought to assess the activities of the NICN with regards to dispute resolution among trade unions and employees in the workforce.

1.7 Scope of the study

The scope of the study is assessing the National Industrial Court in Nigeria with the court in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja as a focal point. The key result area is on disputes resolution.

1.8 Significance of the study

This study would help enhance the ideas and understanding of trade unions, scholars and students alike, who are interested in this topic. The legislative arm of government will also be assisted to see the need to strengthen the existing NICN Act for the greater good having in mind its role in assuring foreign and domestic investors that legally and constitutionally speaking their investment would receive global best practices in disputes resolution.

1.9 Limitation of the study

There are certain limitations the researcher will encounter in the course of this study. Two major challenges are difficulty in getting access to court records and finance to carry out a robust study. The former is overcome through repeated calls on Chief Librarian of the Court at Area 3 Garki Abuja office while the later is handled by restricting it to the dictate of the nature of this type of study which is basically academic.

1.10 Operational definition of Term

Industrial Court:A specialized court of law that admits and entertains labour related issues. It is a governmental judiciary body which rules on labour or employment- related- matters and disputes.

Industrial Dispute:A dispute between employers and employer, or between employers and employees or between employers and workmen or between workmen and workmen, which is connected with the application or non-application of the terms of employment or condition.

Litigation:Litigation is the term used to describe proceeding initiated between two opposing parties to enforce or defend a legal right. Litigation includes any number of activities before, during, and after a lawsuit to enforce a legal right.

ADR:Alternative Dispute Resolution

Berekete Family (aka Embelembe):This is a reality radio and Television Program focused on human rights. It airs on radio and cable television, and streams online through social media platforms and Human Rights Radio 101. 1 in Abuja, Nigeria.

Collective Bargaining:This is a practice by which employers and employees meet at regular intervals or regularly to agree on the terms under which the employees shall render their services in the organization.

IAT: Industrial Arbitration Tribunal

Industrial Court:A specialized court of law that admits and entertains labor related issues. It is a governmental judiciary body which rules on labor or employment- related matters and disputes.

Industrial Dispute:A dispute between employers and employer, or between employers and employees or between employers and workmen or between workmen and workmen, which is connected with the employment or non-employment of the terms of employment or condition

Jurisdiction:It is the power or right of a legal or political agency to exercise its authority over a person, subject matter etc.

Litigation:Litigation is the term used to describe proceeding initiated between two opposing parties to enforce or defend a legal right. Litigation includes any number of activities before, during, and after a lawsuit to enforce a legal right.

NICN:National Industrial Court of Nigeria

Strike:A strike is regarded as the partial or complete, concerted refusal to work, or the retardation or obstruction of work by persons who are employees.

Suo Motu: Is a Latin word meaning on its own motion, used in situations where a government or court official act of its own initiative.

“The Court”:The National Industrial Court of Nigeria.

Trade Unions:An umbrella covering employees or workers with the intent to consider members interest.

1.11 Research methods

Survey method through the use of questionnaire and interview would be employed in carry out the research to achieve doctrinal and empirical approaches opine for the study (De Vellis, R.F.: 2011). The researcher is poised to source data through primary and secondary sources. In the later method, what other scholars posit on the research questions would be examined to address the research questions, in the former data collection would be through the empirical survey by means of questionnaire. The later also distinguished the present study from previous reviews which were doctrinal-based. Aboki Yusuf (2014) recommends the use of both for a robust study.

2 Chapter two. Review of Related Literature

2.1 Introduction

In this chapter an overview of sources explored while researching on the topic, “The Role of National Industrial Court of Nigeria in Disputes Resolution” would be carried out. The organizational pattern will combine both summary and synthesis within specific conceptual and theoretical frameworks as posited by some scholars (Kline, 2009; Pagano, 2013; Stangor, 2013). Thus, there would be a recap of important information of the source and a re-organization of how to investigate the research problem. The chapter will be considered as follows:

2.1Conceptual framework

2.1.2Theoretical framework

2.2Industrial dispute Conflict

2.4National Industrial Court of Nigeria

2.5Previous Empirical Studies

2.2 Conceptual framework

The conceptual in this study is related to ‘work’ in physics. In physics, ‘work’ has a different meaning than it does in everyday speech. The term ‘work’ is used when a physical force causes an object to move. In that instance, if a strong force causes an object to move very far, a lot of work is done, and if the force is small or the object does not move very far, only a little work is done. Thus work in physics seen as work = f x d x cosine (0), where F – force, D = displacement, and O = the angel between the force vector and the direction of motion. This implies that if there is no displacement no work has been done (Nnanna, 2014).

No work, as understood in this context, is done unless the object is displaced in some way and there is a component of the force along the path over which the object is moved.

The reason for the above conclusion is that the purpose of work which is displacement has not been achieved if there is no displacement. In line with this illustration the purpose of establishing the NIC of Nigeria is basically to settle effectively and efficiently industrial disputes before they escalate into serious conflict but that lofty ideal is still a dream. Therefore this study critically examines and assesses the challenges militating against the ‘Court” from accomplishing its mandate because as it were ‘no work has been done’ so far.

2.3 Theoretical framework

There are theories which tend to justify the existence and, therefore, the essence of trade unions in any country or an economy. This study considers some of these theories as an avenue to posit the pervasiveness of the role of NIC of Nigeria in dispute resolution to employers and employees born and yet to be born in Nigeria. These theorists and scholars’ opinions are examined below:

Webbs, (1978) cited in Araga,(2017) postulates that workers are primarily bound together for the purpose of improving and maintaining their working conditions. Therefore, the workers regard it as a way to economically motivate each other. According to Araga, (2017) “workers are directly concerned with the wages and all related allowances, compensation packages, and hours of work.” Thus, Webbs (1978) argue that workers find themselves in a union because they realize that they are powerless fighting singly; hence the need to prevent a united front through their union in fighting for their rights and privileges (Araga, 2017)

Essentially, therefore, the NIC of Nigeria bridges the gap of the powerlessness of the individual worker and the union in trade disputes. This becomes imperative as posits by Mark Maslin in The Guardian Newspaper, Friday, June 1, 2018 (p.34) “Good governance is about protecting and looking after the most vulnerable people in the society’, more especially the helpless worker.

Robins (1989) cited in Araga (2017) on the other hand postulated that trade unions emerged from individual workers quest to deal with the problem of job security. Therefore, Araga, (2017) contended that the pattern of industrial organization in any given economy depends on factors such as the mix of union executive, their strength and ability to resist the capitalist who is the owner of the capital and the organization; the job consciousness of a worker, and the role of the intellectuals.

Robins, (1989) postulation sees every employer as a capitalist who needs to be resisted without due consideration that in a mixed economy as we have in Nigeria the gap between the employee and the employer is very narrow. Besides, his postulation did not take into consideration that most employers of labor are at the mercy of the skilled technocrat who often times seems indispensible at the work place.

Another theorist- Storey, (1992), argues that, ‘workers are driven to form unions a result of the sense of feeling of being alienated from both the job and society. Therefore, the workers strive to use the union avenue to relief themselves of such alienation.’ In essence, workers do form unions to create an avenue for collective and mutual relationship among each other in order to achieve cohesiveness in their objectives (Araga, 2017). In such instance therefore the need for an independent arbitrator becomes imperative.

Further, Akubuiro, (2003) posits that ‘trade unions are formed as partners in progress with employers. Therefore, trade unions are not opponents of employers, or “slaves or have-nots” The argument is then that unions came to be, so as to work hand-in-hand with the employers, with the believe that if the profit increases they themselves will share out of it. Thus Akubuiro, (2003) position invariable task both the employer and the employee to see themselves as partners in progress when dispute arises. This study would work along side this postulation because a harmonious dispute resolution that would ensure a stable polity and socio-economic peace is expected to be the focus of NICN in dispute resolution in the country.

Besides the above theories that synthesize the need for industrial peace another theory opined for this study centers on the need for public awareness of the role and existence of the NICN. Thus, this study considered cultivation, and social learning theories.

Cultivation theory was developed by Gerbner, as cited by Stangor (2016). It is based on the assumption that mass media have subtle effects on audiences who unknowingly absorb the dominant symbols, images, and messages of media. Gerbner (1963) calls it “cultivation of dominant image pattern”. According to Gerbner (1963) ‘a long persistent exposure to TV is capable of cultivating common beliefs about the world’. The essence of this theory in this study is the role of mass media in creating awareness of the NICN is imperative in order to cultivate a uniform view of the important of NICN.

Besides Cultivation the other to be considered when it comes to creating awareness of the role and presence of NICN is Social Learning Theory. It is one of the most widely used theories in mass communication. According to this theory the media are active but subtle educators in teaching readers, viewers, listeners about the world. An important component of this theory is that it explains how people can learn from observations alone (Araga, 2017), thus airing the activity of NICN would go a long way to inculcate in the citizens the ideals of NICN.

It is also the view of the study that the mass media should be used to maximum effect in the dissemination of information on National Industrial Court of Nigeria. Previous literatures have not been able to approach the topic from the present dimension.

The takeaway from the consideration above is that there is a coming together to solve a similar problem which borders on trade disputes; peace could be threatened and conflict ensues which if not managed well would affect rights and well beings of the workers. The understanding of these theories especially John Commons’ will enable all appreciate the role of NICN which is to settle disputes among ‘partners in progress’ as it were, and thus envision a peaceful settlement through a specialized court on trade matters (Agomo , 2012).

In this study therefore the researcher in consideration of the expected role of NICN as an Industrial court, and considering employer and employee as partners in progress for the overall good of the country chooses cultivation and social learning’ theory of dispute resolution.

2.4 Industrial disputes

Trade and industrial disputes generally originate from interaction within an organized labor market. Government monetary and physical policies also play a significant role in developing this framework. Union activities, pension issues and employment conditions usually contribute the balance of the framework (Araga, 2017). The role that Trade Unions play in negotiating disputes between employers and their members is also a key feature of these relationships. It is the breakdown in this negotiation process that produces postures which leads to disputes. Strike actions remain the most easily recognizable form of relationship breakdown in labor law. The adverse effects of strikes are commonly known. The loss of productive man hours; attendant difficulties in meeting demand for services within the period; breakdown in communication, law and order as well as major threats to economic development are all known features of strike action.

According to Agomo, (2012), ‘Inefficient management of industrial disputes compromises socio-economic stability of countries’. In developed economies therefore, the mechanism for easier resolution of these disputes is often clearly identified. Agomo, (2012) further posits that “It is probably to replicate international best practices and create a contemporary dispute resolution mechanism that gave impetus to the establishment, in its previous and current forms, of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria”. Its brief appeared concise – to adjudicate on all issues emanating from industrial relations and labor market breakdown. As was to transpire, the course to attaining this objective has been a difficult but critically necessary one.

In the context of industrial disharmony dispute differs from discipline and grievance. While discipline and grievance focus on individuals, dispute focuses on collectivity or individuals. In other words, the test of industrial dispute is that the interest of all or majority of workmen is involved in it. Therefore, some analysts (Oyearu, 2015; Terrell, 2018; Wilder, 2018, Eason, 2018; Weir, 2018) posit that dispute must affect a large number of workmen who have a commonality of interest and the rights of these workmen must be affected as a class. These collectivist scholars also opine that the dispute must be taken up either by the industry union or by a substantial number of workmen, and that the grievance should turn from individual complaint into a general complaint.

Be that as it may, their position does not address a worker or individual labor challenge with regard to raising an industrial’s dispute concerning termination, discharge, dismissal, or retrenchment of his or her service, even though no other workman or any trade union of workmen raises it or is a party to the dispute. It is the position of this study that dispute should not concern collectivity alone because each worker’s case many not be a reflection of the whole but down the line it may become so in the future.

The current industrial or trade set up gives birth to the capitalistic economy which divided the industrial community into groups of labor (workers and staff of both public and private sectors) and capitalist (Government- states and federal, and managers of private and public corporations). It is a known fact that Capitalists own resources and have possession over means of production on the one hand; labor sells services which cannot be stored on the other hand (Fashoyin, 2018)

Bendix, (2016) on his own argues that “while the later strives for higher wages and congenial working conditions; the former takes advantage of worker’s poor bargaining power and deny them their due rights.” Besides, the employers want higher productivity. Thus, when these two conflicting interests clash, industrial disputes arise.

Although there is tremendous causes blended together results in industrial disputes, it is not easy to ascertain the particular cause or causes involved. access 9th July 2018 argues that surface manifestation of work stoppage may cover deep-seated and more basic causes which cannot be observed at first sight.

Subsequently, it has been observed by experts of industrial relations that the cause(s) of disputes between the two parties is the same in all capitalistic economy. Swanepoel, et al (2012), assert that “There are a number of causes for industrial disputes which can be classified into four (4) categories” as follows:

Economic causes: The most common causes of industrial disputes are economic reasons and they include: wages, dearness allowances and bonuses, working condition and working hours, modernization and Automation of plant and machinery, demand for other facilities.

Managerial Causes of Industrial Disputes: In this category the causes include autocratic managerial attitude and defective labor policies. They manifest in the following avenues: denial of recognition to trade unions, defective recruitment policies, irregular lay-off and retrenchment, defiance of Agreements and codes, defective leadership.

Government machineryThis occur where government measures to prevent and machinery to settle disputes are not much effective such as where enactments are ineffective, little confidence over settlement machinery.

Wage boards: Wages and allowances is the main issue in industrial disputes. In recent time wage issue has been the main causes of industrial dispute in Nigeria. To illustrate on the Punch Newspaper June 3, 2019,”Minimum wage: Labor rejects FG’s proposal” the negotiation committee set up by the Federal Government to negotiate the consequential adjustment arising from the N30,000 new minimum wage has rejected what the government is offering.” Olufemi Atoyebi, Abuja. To avoid that government issues Standing Orders: This represents a stand taken by Government in order to avoid frictions between employer and his workmen over terms of employment,

Disputes Resolution:

Akinbode, (2019) asserts industrial disputes have been found to be inevitable in both formal and informal sectors of Nigeria. According to Akinbode, (2019) “the frequency of these incidents varied from year to year. Anyim, Chidi and Ogunyomi (2012) also posit that “industrial disputes have been on the increase in Nigeria. Thus, recent and on-going industrial disputes of ASUU, agitations of NLC on minimum wage, to mention a few confirms that the government recent white paper (October, 2018) to stem industrial disputes through the “No Work, No Pay” clause has not helped matters. Therefore a legal process to handle industrial dispute or disharmony should be perfected through the NICN. Meanwhile in settling disputes trade unions come in play, what then is industrial union (The Guardian Newspaper 6th March 2019).

Aderibigbe, (2014) in his contribution on incessant industrial disputes in Nigeria contends that industrial union is a “collective bargaining association open to all workers in an industry, regardless of their specific skills, functions, and job responsibilities.” Basically its objective is to protect the rights of workers who may not be able to get fair wages and benefits on their own. Industrial unions, therefore, allow workers a platform to harness an advantage they would not have had otherwise. Unions represent their members in incidents of disputes.

Thus like every other nations of the world, industrial disputes have been found to be in both formal and informal sectors of Nigeria. Be that as it may industrial disputes resolution mechanism has been put in place by the government. These include: alternative dispute resolution (ADR), Use of social dialogue which normally involve the Minister of Labor, Industrial Arbitration Panel, and the NICN. In the course of this study their roles which Francis, Christopher, Olusiji (2018) described as “drudgery and ineffectiveness inherent in the disputes settlement mechanisms” would be examined.

Re-call as noted above dispute is inevitable when two parties are involved in a disagreement over several of the things mentioned that are causes of industrial dispute. Be that as it may, disputes must be resolved amicably in order for society to keep functioning. There are so many choices available. According to Jossey-Bass, (2005) there are ‘three basic types of disputes resolution’ which include:

1. Mediation: The goal of mediation is for a neutral third party to help disputants come to a consensus on their own. Thus rather than imposing a solution, a professional mediator works with the conflicting sides to explore the interests underlying their positions. It is vital to mention that mediation can be effective at allowing parties to vent their feelings and fully explore their grievances.

2. Arbitration: access 9th July 2019 posits that “in arbitration, a neutral third party serves as a judge who is responsible for resolving the dispute.” Thus, the arbitrator listens as each side argues its case and presents relevant evidence and then renders a binding decision. Arbitrators usually arrive and hand down decisions that are confidential and that cannot be appealed. Arbitration according to observers tends to be much less expensive than litigation.

3. Litigation. This is the most familiar type of dispute resolution in industrial strife. Civil litigation typically involves a defendant facing off against a plaintiff before either a judge or a judge and jury. Here, the judge or the jury is responsible for weighing the evidence and making a ruling. The information conveyed in hearings and trials usually enters, and stays on the public record. Litigation is basically the type of dispute resolution focused in this study and it involves the use of court of law hence the NIC of Nigeria (Araga, 2017).

2.5 Conflict

Some scholars are of the opinion that the concept conflict has a very negative connotation. Thus many people are opposed to conflict (Bendix, 2001, Araga, 2017). People would more often than not prefer to avoid it altogether than to handle it. The most likely reason according to analyst is that conflict is very often associated with hostility, defensive behavior and protracted trouble leading to loss, suffering, damage and bad intensions. Therefore conflict is commonly perceived as a negative element that should be avoided as much as possible (Swanepoel et al, 2002).
Be that as it may, some informed people regard the above assumptions as incorrect. To start with they point out that conflict is a normal by-product of all human interaction, which is why it is present in any work situation. Tension in work situations is common, and specialists in conflict management are therefore constantly searching for new ways of handling conflict in the industrial sphere specifically legally. But what is conflict?

A conflict, as defined by sociologists, is a social fact in which at least two parties are involved and whose origins are differences either in interests or in the social position of the parties (Imbusch, 1999). Consequently, a industrial conflict can be defined as a social fact in which at least two parties (employer and employee) are involved, the roots of which are different interests over the rewards for work and rights involving conditions of services : health, promotion, motivations and compensation among others. Conflict, therefore, can be understood as a misuse, restriction or dispute over agreed or perceived rights to services (Wehrmann, 2005). Industrial conflicts defined as such can be aggravated if the social positions of the parties involved differ greatly.

Bendix, (2002) opines that conflict results from purposeful interaction among two or more people. Although one generally experience conflict as something destructive, they nevertheless perform positive functions. Sociological conflict theories underline the importance of social conflict for social change (Bonacker, 1996). Industrial conflicts, too, can become engines of change if they lead to massive protest and consequent changes in policies and their implementation. It is therefore important to deal with industrial conflicts in a constructive manner, instead of ignoring them or simply trying to stop them. In any event, conflict theorists agree that conflict is unavoidable for any society:

Zartman, (1991) posits thatConflict is an inevitable aspect of human interaction, an unavoidable concomitant of choices and decisions. […] Conflict can be prevented on some occasions and managed on others, but resolved only if the term is taken to mean the satisfaction of apparent demands rather than the total eradication of underlying sentiments, memories, and interests. Only time really resolves conflicts, and even the wounds it heals leave their scars for future reference. But short of such ultimate healing, much can be done to reduce conflict and thereby release needed energies for more productive tasks”

Araga, (2017) assert that conflict is an essential element in all social interaction.” The most difficult type of industrial conflict to resolve involves a government against one or more public servants. “Government” is shorthand for a group of categories of people that include high-ranking politicians, civil servants, the military, the police, companies and other rich and influential groups or individuals. In many countries or situations, the public servants hesitate and often do not dare to resist the government, not least in court. If they do, or if the Government sue them instead, the chances are very low that the employee will win the case. This is particularly obvious when examining the outcomes of court cases. Resolution in these cases tends to favor the Government. Frequently, cases that involve a Government actor but which have been brought to court by a public servant are not dealt with at all. In many cases bribery plays a major role. In other cases, the Government simply can afford the better lawyer and lethal threat.


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The Role of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria
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