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The Impact of Restructuring, Liberalisation and Privatisation on Employment Relations in Developing Economies: A case study of the Nigerian Electricity Distribution Sector

Itodo, Kosisochukwu Faith (2019) The Impact of Restructuring, Liberalisation and Privatisation on Employment Relations in Developing Economies: A case study of the Nigerian Electricity Distribution Sector. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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The central objective of this thesis is to present a detailed account of liberalisation and privatisation and its employment relations implications within the context of a sub-Saharan African country, Nigeria. While there are many comparative accounts of privatisation and employment relations, more academic interest is required to understand how a trade union’s conceptualisation of a strategic response during the privatisation process influences employment outcomes between the survivors of privatisation and recruits. The context of this study is the privatisation of the Nigerian Electricity Distribution Sector (NEDS) between 1999 and 2013, with a specific focus on three distribution companies, Qwest, Exon and Kank. To develop the historical, political and geographical contexts of the electricity sector, the study also considered previous reforms and associated industrial relation processes between 1940 and 1990s. The research took the form of a qualitative, embedded case study strategy. Findings show that reforms in the NEDS between 1940 and 2013 relied on a rather narrow government framework for political dominance within the sector’s collective bargaining framework. The union’s response to this constricted political agenda was unstable and reactive. This resulted from its ideological perspective, internal divisions, and political and regulatory constraints, which weakened its attempt to conceptualise an effective strategic response both during and post-privatisation. Even with the initiation of a ‘Labour Based Agreement’ (LBA) between the government and union in 2011 which promised job security and continued union involvement in the employment relations of the sector post-privatisation, the union was still unable to gain effective involvement in sector employment relations processes. This was because of the absence of both a supportive regulatory framework and prospective investors during the negotiation of the LBA. The internal division that emerged between employees, local union representatives and the union leadership also weakened the union’s bargaining power, as most employees and local representatives questioned the reliability of LBA, especially post-privatisation. In conclusion, findings demonstrate that privatisation and the inability of the union to conceptualise a strategic response resulted in an atomised employment relations within the sector with a near absence of collective bargaining, directly contradicting the ostensible intent of the Labour Based Agreement. Therefore, privatisation and implementation of the LBA depended not only on the political objective to privatise and institutional limitations within the political economy, but the union’s inability to conceptualise an effective strategic response to the process.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Leeds University Business School > Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management (Leeds)
Depositing User: Miss Kosisochukwu .F. Itodo
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2019 12:10
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2019 12:10
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/25244

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