Industrial Conflict Mediation in Nigeria

An interesting academic article just published by Dr. Olajide Olagunju, BGU Adjunct Professor, in The International Journal of Industrial Arbitration.


There are constitutional and statutory provisions for industrial conflict mediation in Nigeria. These include the Trade Dispute Act; the Arbitration and Conciliation Act; and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Trade Dispute Act specifically set out in Sections 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 the various amicable processes that should be taken when industrial disputes arise.

These processes range from non-governmental amicable dispute resolution processes, to government facilitated mediation and conciliation. Recourse to adversarial industrial dispute resolution is therefore a last resort, legally, that is, only when all avenues to negotiate, mediate and conciliate have failed. Very importantly, the Constitution of Nigeria mandates the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) to set up alternative dispute resolution (ADR) centers for the purposed of administering amicable dispute resolution process to industrial disputes. The Arbitration and Conciliation Act provides that parties’ arbitration clauses
do not prevent them from agreeing to use conciliation in the resolution of their disputes. This paper highlights these statutory mandates for industrial dispute mediation and conciliation. It also introduces the author’s 10-Step-Mediation model of amicable industrial dispute resolution. Topics covered under the10-Step-Mediation description include: understanding of disputants’ emotional situation; dealing with disputants’ emotions; understanding disputants’ problems; understanding disputants’ unmet needs that fuel conflict; setting out issues for determination in dispute resolution; strategizing (brainstorming) for options for dispute
resolution; sensitizing options; doing reality-testing; making offers for settlement; and, accepting offers for settlement. The 10-Step-Mediation model provide a step-by-step approach to dispute resolution that ensures that all issues in contention in a dispute are adequately examined and resolved.

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