Organised labour and democratic struggles in Nigeria

Tar, Usman A. (2009) Organised labour and democratic struggles in Nigeria. Information, society and justice journal, 2 (2). pp. 165-181. ISSN 1756-1078


This paper examines the role of the Nigeria labour movement in the struggles for democratic restoration in Nigeria. The paper shows that the Nigerian labour is a forerunner of socio-economic and pro-democracy struggles in the country, providing the foundation for efflorescence civil society. The paper shows that the state played a key role in reproducing socio-economic and political inequality and generating, in the process, anti-state, anti-hegemonic activity from trade unions and other associational groups. In response to anti-state activities, the state intervened in the internal politics of these organisations. Where necessary, the state invented repressive laws to impose “order”. In confronting difficult circumstances created by the repressive state – structural adjustment, retrenchment and militarism – the Nigerian labour movement demonstrated both organisational strength and weakness, whilst also forging difficult alliances in confronting a common enemy – the state.

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