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The first of formal trade union to develop in Nigeria was the civil service, founded in 1912.  Even though it’s aims were vogue in the initial stage, there was no doubt that it was formed to protect the interest of their member and the word “native” is clearly indicative of the struggle against the foreign employer.  Before the advent of the modern industrial sectors in Nigeria, there were already in existence employer – employee relationship with system of work and reward based on the culture and transaction of the people.  In general, the employer was an individual and his workmen were essentially member of his household or of the extend family including cousins, nephews and nieces.

 In the circumstance, the work relation approach was paternalistic in respect to reward and other welfare facilities.  The active impetus to trade unionism in Enugu came with the passing of the trade union ordinance in 1938.  This law formally recognized the existence of trade unionism.

The same law laid down the model of registration of trade union and prescribed the right and obligations in the employer-employee relationship.

 It should be noted that trade union operate within industrial relation system where employer and government are also debtors.  A trade union is concerned with collective strength.  It arises and tries to replace individual worker bargaining power at work with worker’s collective or group bargaining power.

 However, the employee or worker collective function need not be formal organization in order that it’s can be those of trade union. 

The hierarchy of worker does not necessarily imply formal organization.  Worker may be “unorganized” in the popular usage, but in so far as they are in continuing enterprises they qualify their association as a undoubtedly to democratize industrial management whereby the autocratic power of employers are restricted by rules and regulation negotiated with representative of workers.  The extent to which this is allowed is determined by the law regarding trade union organization from state to state.  In most cases, provisions of such laws are aimed at democracy in the government of the trade union.

Democracy in this contest refers to a form of government where the ruled to a very large extent participate in matter affecting them, with regard to trade union.  The normal roll of member and qualification of membership are demanded by the appropriate government organs before the union can perform legally, for instance.  The trade union ordinance of Nigeria 1938 made those necessary condition before a trade union could function legally, it even went to the extend of specifying that only union member could be appointed to the committee of management.  These provision tend to perform with the definition of democracy as provided by Abraham Lincoln which see it as government of the people where leadership of the union is to a very large extent controlled by the ordinary member and the leadership comes from within the membership.

The government of the trade union can then be said to be “of and by” the people.  For a trade union government to be seen as ruling for the people.  The leadership should display a high degree of integrity.  There must therefore be avenue for the member to ensure that due contribution by members are in accordance with laid down rules, and that accounts of such spending shall be rendered to the member at regular intervals.  In addition to this, the ordinary member should have the right to provide input for the decision and utterance of their leaders.  This could be done effectively by establishing a frame work for information flow and exchange between the ordinary members from time to time.  And when this is done or obtained, the leadership of the union can be truly said to be a government “for” the people which in this contest refers to the ordinary member of the union. 

Finally, the problem of union democracy can be looked at from these main angles.  In the first place, the state political atmosphere in which the trade union operated should be democratized.  Secondly, there must be industrial democracy whereby employers on their association allow union to organize their member and conduct their activities without hindrance and the external regulatory agencies appointed by the government should act as supervisor that they are suppose to be.  Thirdly, union democracy should extend to the internal government of the union.

 The structure of union should be such that the rank and file member to a very large extent control the decision making process in matter affecting them.  This research paper, therefore aims at looking at the benefit of trade union democracy using Enugu State Civil Service Union as a case study.  A close look at the trade union as the micro level of analysis to enable one to say whether democracy as is conceived of in the political realm can openly apply to trade union without modification.


In Nigeria, union democracy on civil service has been bedeviled by some undemocratic practices.  Sometime the view of the union member are treated as amounting to subversion, worse still, some union officials collect bribe to remain as fractional entities so that there will be no basis working towards solidanstics action against the employer.  This manifested during the 2000 national strike against government uni-lateral increase of the prices of petroleum prices.  When two union leaders demanded bribe from the minister of works and housing.  Adams Shiomhole got wind of this and exposed them.

 Apart from mere representative status accorded to some union member on the board of some civil service and occasional dialogue between the union and their employer there has been no meaningful contribution by the union on management policies.  Given the democratic practice and the strength of trade union in some part of the world as well as the attendant benefit, it has become necessary to inquire into the democracy of trade union with focus on Enugu State Civil Service.


The objective of the study are, to determine the most pressing problem the union place as a trade union that has the government as the employer of it member and how this officer practice democracy within the union and out side it.

To ascertain to what extend the mass of legislation applicable to labour management relation permit the practice of industrial democracy in the Enugu State Civil Service.

Also to examine the structure, aim, objective and activities of Enugu Civil Services Union with view to ascertaining whether internal democracy exist in the union.


Leaders in trade union would find this work beneficial without democracy no union around world last six month the research would therefore bring out the extent to which trade union can allow democratic practices to apply in their union while allowing them sufficient room to run the affairs of the union successfully this study is taken in the greatest hope and conviction that students and practitioners in industrial relation in Nigeria as a whole could recognize practice in industrial relation in Nigeria.  And the end, they can be able to show whether the policies are in consonance with such democratic ideas as the freedom of association and assembly.


This are the following hypothesis that could be used to solve the research problem.

Hi:     It is difficult to have absolute democracy in trade union

H0:    It is not difficult to have absolute democracy in trade union

Hi:     The extent of solidarity in trade union is minimal.

H0:    The extent of solidarity in trade union is not minimal.

Hi:     Employees interpret in trade union government.

Hi:     Employees do not interpret in trade union government.


The scope of this study is view wide if it has to be carried out in all civil service in Nigeria, the research tried to minimize the effects of limitation that are commonly attendant with project topic of this nature, but, some of these were unavoidably, that does not mean it affected the objective of the study.

 The study is limited base on the fact that there is no time and material resources to see to the whole nation.  This study is limited to Enugu Civil Service and finding not reflect the situation in the whole country.  These finding reflects Enugu Civil Service and can said to apply to other civil services.


Terms used in this study & they meaning:-

Democracy:-        Is a system of government whereby people of the state participate in electing their representative and enjoy some right and obligation.

Bargaining power:-      Is the ability to negotiable with the employers of labour as regards terms of employment.


Trade union is a continuous association of wages and salaries earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the condition of their working lives.


It is the regulation of employment relation in any employment situation or their organisation.


Labour management is the relationship between worker not as individual but in their collective identify and their employer.


Abusei Polu A (1987) Principle of business Administration Enugu Konna Book.

Banls J.A. (1988) Trade Unionism London Collier (MacmillanPublisher)

Roethlisbergeredg F.J. (1939)  Harvard University Press.