Full List of Trade Unions in Nigeria and their Functions


Full List of Trade Unions in Nigeria and their Functions

A trade union is an organization made up of members (a membership-based organization) and its membership must be made up mainly of workers.

One of a trade union's main aims is to protect and advance the interests of its members in the workplace.

There are associations and unions in every work discipline that oversee and advocate for the organization’s affairs. These organizations are referred to as economic unions, and we will look at a list of trade unions in Nigeria and their functions in this article.

Up until know you might have been hearing about popular trade union associations. This organization is the association of workers who speaks for their members in a particular field (like medical, teaching or petroleum). Their primary objectives are to ensure their workers’ working conditions and effect implementation of policies to favour them from the government.

Additionally, trade union organizations set working guidelines, mediate the workers with the government, ensure good pay, and also implement conditions for the benefit of their members. In Nigeria, there are various trade unions.

These unions are differing in the field they are on. Like the NMA in the medical profession, or the NUT in the teaching line. As we further in this article, you will know more about these powerful trade unions that are in operation in the country and their functions.


What are Trade Unions and How Do They Work?

You may have heard about popular trade union organizations up until now. This is a group of workers who speak up for their fellow workers in a specific field (like medical, teaching or petroleum). Their principal goals are to guarantee their employees’ workplace conditions and to have government policies favoring them implemented. There are numerous registered trade unions in Nigeria. In the field in which they operate, these unions differ. In the medical field, the NMA, and in the education field, the NUT.


Full List of Trade Unions in Nigeria and their Roles

Full List of Trade Unions in Nigeria and their Functions

Nigeria has a large number of powerful trade union organizations that cover a wide range of occupations. Here is the complete list of Nigeria’s trade unions and their responsibilities:



This trade union is seen as one of the most active in the country, due to how they handle issues affecting labour workers in the country, by going on industrial action. NLC house the workers in the country by intervening for them against some goverment odd policies. The trade union body was established in 1978 and has Comr. Ayuba Wabba as its present president. Furthermore, the Nigerian Labour Cobgress objective is to free Nigerian labour force from maltreatment and abuse, which is mostly through some government implementation and programmes which affects the workers. Issues that the body castigate includes: hike in fuel price, poor payment of salaries and stipends and other agonising issues affecting the general workers.



Another labor union in the country is the Academic Staff Union of Universities. It originated in 1978, when the Nigerian Association of University Teachers was disbanded. All senior and academic personnel at Nigeria’s federal and state universities are members of the union. By safeguarding the rights of its members, the group works as a protective shield for all government public university academic employees. ASUU has gone on strike in a number of cases, effectively shutting down all government universities. The union is taking these steps in order for the government to meet the need for academic personnel while also raising the quality of university systems. This organization addresses all concerns relating to non­academic personnel at Nigerian universities, while also advocating for the non­teaching staff at public institutions. In 1977, the NASU was established as a trade union. The necessity to address significant issues concerning non­academic personnel in government universities prompted the formation of this union.



Popularly known as NASU, it is related union to the preceding one above (ASUU). This association deals with all issues concerning with non­academic staffs of Nigerian universities, by speaking for the lesser non­ teaching staff of public institutions. NASU was formed as a trade union association in 1977 through the Decree No. 22 (Davison 1977). The formation of this union was because of the need to address critical issue concerning non­academic workers in the government universities. 



The union’s name indicates that it is an organization that ensures that workers in the petroleum business have safe working conditions and are satisfied. The trade union is a subsidiary of the Nigeria Labor Congress, and the Congress protects them on matters affecting oil employees.



The Nigeria Union of Teachers is a trade union that houses all the teachers in both government primary and secondary schools in the country. The need for this union to be established since February 1931 was because of vulnerabilities uncovered from the cuts in teachers’ pay rates and the appearance of supremacy in the profession. Today, the body is embossed with the responsibility of being a voice for teachers in country.



The entertainments also have trade unions to administer the field. This is seen in the photography and movie industry, as the union known as Directors Guild of Nigeria. The union is the association which serves a body for motion pictures and TV chiefs in the country’s entertainment industry. DGN was set up in 2001 and they have presently Mr. Fred Amata as the leader of the union, which also includes movies chiefs and other personalities in the photography field. The objectives of this union are to maintain international standards in filmmaking in the country, and also ensure the enabled working condition of workers in this field.



The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA is union that consists of trained experts like Doctors in the medical field. Other workers in Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Public Health and Laboratory Medicine are also included in this medial union. The Nigerian Medical Association as a trade union, aims at ensuring that medical workers are properly cared for: in salary, work safety, and creating a good environment by providing the needed medical equipment.



The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics is congenerous to its university wing, ASUU, but the difference is their area of application. ASUP body covers all the of the academic staff in the polytechnics. This includes Lecturers, technologists, and all teaching workers in all polytechnics and monotechnics in Nigeria. The body ensures the working environment for these academic staffs, and they undergo an industrial action to criticize a particular government policy affecting them.



This is another association in the petroleum industry. PENGASSAN includes top officials and senior staff in the industry. These senior staff in the oil and gas segment are critical to the country and an action by the union may cripple economy, due to the fact that the sector is the major stake of the country.



The Association of Resident Doctors is a medical union that comprises of all specialists in the medical profession in Nigeria. It is a subsidiary of the Nigerian Medical Association. The role of the union is similar to NMA as it involves all the issues concerning medical workers, but the demarcation between the two medical associations is that it relates to issues about resident medical doctors in Nigeria.


Functions of Trade Unions in Nigeria

There are various functions which Nigerian trade unions have undertaken over the years since their history.

These roles are as follows:

a)   Trade unions performs political role as they use their collective right to influence government decisions on behalf of their members and the society at large.

b)  They perform market role by intervening and liaising with government on wage bargain which has an impact on both worker and the economy.

c)   They also perform regulatory role by providing the standards for jobs terms and conditions that will benefit the ordinary citizen.

d)  Trade Unions create a sense of democratic feeling at the workplace for labourers

e)   Takes care of the welfare of its members and groups.


Requirements to Register Trade Union in Nigeria

It should be noted that before an application is considered to start a trade union, there must be at least fifty members for the Trade Union of employees, and two members in the case of Trade Union of employers. It is then that the application can be considered by the Registrar.

Guidelines to Register a Trade Union

The following are the steps that should be done in order to apply for the registration of trade unions in Nigeria:


1. Send Application to Registrar

Once the application for registration is signed by members, it is then sent to the Registrar of Trade Unions for vetting. There are some documents which should accompany the application which must dully state the name and reasons why such Trade Union must be established.

The required documents include:

I.  Two original copies of the rules and constitution of the association.

II. Proof of recorded minutes of the general meeting where the decision to form the union was taken.

III. A comprehensive list of attendants with their various signatures, addresses, age and occupation of signatories who signed the application.

IV. A comprehensive list of executives of the association. It should contain the names and office of the officials, their age, addresses and occupation.

V.  The application itself must be submitted to the office of registrar of trade unions (RTU) with five thousand naira.


2.  Await approval by minister

The next step is to wait after submission and hope that the application is approved by the Honorable minister in charge of Labour.


3.  Application is gazetted for a period

For three months, there will be a publication of notice of application that would be made in the Federal Government’s Official Gazette. It is during this period, that objection to the registration of the trade union can be made by anyone who feels that it isn’t in the best interest of the public can then write to the Registrar of Trade Union.


4. Registrar considers objection application

Normally, it is rare to see objections to Trade union applications, but according to the laid down rules in registering an association or union, there must be consideration of objections by the registrar raised towards the registration of the union. Normally, if such objections are credible, the Registrar will immediately notify the applicant accordingly without approving the application but if such is found without evidence, then the trade union is formed without hassles.


5. Presentation of certificate to the Trade Union

Once all the above steps is met and complied with, the Trade Union is now dully registered and would be presented with a certificate of registration to kick start its activities lawfully.


Numerous professional disciplines in the country have resorted to trade unions for help. This is particularly the case in light of the fact that they safeguard and protect the rights of their employees in the public good. In Nigeria, there are numerous trade unions in a variety of occupations. We went over the list of these trade unions, their goals, as well as how their members and the wider public are affected

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