The Management of Shift Work in Nigeria and its Implications f or Labour-Management Relations

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Omoarukhe, O
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Several issues in employment and organisation of work have the potential for great impact on the personnel and industrial relations function. One of such issues for which research and adequate information is lacking in developing economies is shift work. This study presents an examination of the management of shift work in Nigeria and its implications for labour-management relations. It also attempts to reverse the trend in current literature on shift work, which focuses on mainly the impact of shift work on the health and family life of the shift worker. Discussions centre on an explanation and appraisal of the policies in Nigerian organizations concerning shift systems; individual adaptation to shift work; an examination of the sociological and socio-psychological meaning and function of industrial relations among shift workers and shift practitioners and the implications of all these, for labour-management relations. The study was carried out in two major settings of manufacturing and service industries, both of which cut across the private and public sector. It thereby affords an inter-sectoral comparison. Primary data for the study were obtained through the use of questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. Secondary data were also obtained through an analysis of records and collective agreements. Data were analyzed using simple statistics (e.g. frequency and percentages) Mean Ordinal Ranking (MOR), Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient and Multiple Regression Analysis. Results obtained show that: (1) Shift work is prevalent among factory workers and nurses in Nigeria. (2) The most difficult shift to adjust to is the night shift. (3) With respect to the relationship between some "developmental process" variables such as age and tenure on the job and some specific dependent variables as satisfaction with and adjustment to shift work, liking for shift work is significantly related to time spent in shift work. (4) Workers that derive satisfactory benefits from shift work would be favourably disposed to working on shifts than those who do not. Those that perceive a discrepancy between the inconvenience of shift work and its benefits are the ones who readily express shift-related problems. (5) Certain conditions under which shift work leads to unfavourable worker responses with implications for labour-management relations include low pay, safety on the way to and from work and lack of the use of the collaborative problem-solving approach especially by night shift supervisors. (6) Shift workers would seem to be generally apathetic to union affairs. This is even more pronounced in the public sector. (7) Though the check-off system makes for an organized way of collecting union dues, payment of dues is not synonymous with workers' commitment to the union. (8) The nature of ownership of the enterprise is important in considering the participatory role of shift workers and their ability to ensure that shift-related issues are brought to the fore in negotiations with management. (9) Shift-related problems are not necessarily a function of lack of community orientation to shift work. This is notwithstanding the fact that the recognition of the peculiarities of shift work, in terms of the provision of facilities at "odd-hours" of the day, has not been well exploited by the communities in which shift workers live. Since the focus of this study is a departure from that found in current literature especially in advanced economies the findings above can be re-examined within the context of other developing economies. It is expected that a generalization of the results here can be achieved taking similar situational and environmental factors into consideration.
A Thesis Submitted to the School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Lagos
Personnel and Industrial Relations Function , Labour Management Relatioms , Nigerian Organizations , Environmental Factors
Omoarukhe, O (1999). The Management of Shift Work in Nigeria and its Implications f or Labour - Management Relations. A Thesis Submitted to University of Lagos School of Postgraduate Studies Phd Thesis and Dissertation, 305pp.