In a country like Nigeria, for instance, both before and since the current democratic government took up the mantle of leadership, the government has, in its bid to restructure the country's battered economy, applied certain measures over and over again, each time bringing untold hardship on the Nigerian workers. An example of such measures is the continual increase in the prices of various petroleum products, notably gasoline, kerosene, gas, diesel and other lubricants.
Each time this is done, [It has been done six times within six years], the prices of virtually everything except workers' salary would go up by over a hundred percent. The transporters would increase their transport fares, market people would do the same on foodstuffs, landlords, estate agents, farmers, schools, and college; all these and other service providers, including manufacturers, would follow suit and increase the prices of their products and services, without any consideration for the worker, who bears the effect of inflation.
When the situation is like this, the worker's plight becomes very pathetic because of the concomitant high cost of living and spiraling inflation the worker is left to grapple with as his pocket depletes quickly with his static salary.
Many workers have had to continue to suffer in silence for fear of being sacked and thrown into the over-populated labor market, where many unemployed graduates are waiting in the wings to grab any job opportunity, no matter how small the pay, just to make ends meet.
The government has remained insensitive about the plight of the worker with their arbitrary increases in petroleum product prices, even when no palliatives are ever put in place to cushion the effect of their policies on the work.
Protests and nationwide strikes declared by the Labour Congress has always been the workers' only resort, but this has always be perceived as opponents of the government, [short of being labeled a treason] and the reaction of the government has been to unleash police terror on the protesting workers, arrests and detention of union leaders are ordered. Apart from these, the worker faces such punitive measures as the cut in salary suspension [without pay], and outright dismissal is additional punishments the worker faces in the hand of the employer at the end of strikes and protests.
Generally, most employers perceive unionism as opposed to the progress and well being of their organizations. Whenever there is a conflict between workers and their employers, and the union comes in to mediate, there is always a stalemate, or where some agreements are struck through collective bargaining, such agreements are hardly respected to the full by the employers.
Unionised employees are usually seen as disloyal to their employers. A wrong perception by the employers. Many unionized workers are constantly dismissed, sacked, suspended, suppressed or threatened at the slightest chance by the employers.