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The Nigerian informal economy: Instigating decent work and pay, and national development through unionisation

Sola Fajana (Department of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management, Faculty of Business Administration, University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 27 June 2008




This paper aims to address the issue of unionisation of the largely non‐unionised informal economic activities as a strategy for achieving decent work and pay as well as promoting national development in Nigeria.


The adopted methods include review of archival information and survey of the perspectives of the stakeholders in Nigeria's industrial relations system. To facilitate the realisation of expected developmental objectives, monitoring, evaluation, capacity building, organising and advocacy roles are recommended jointly and severally for the stakeholders.


It was found that decent work and pay, which would assist poverty minimisation and thus national development, would be furthered by unionisation of the informal sector. At the same time, there are many barriers faced by unions in seeking to organise in the latter area.

Research limitations/implications

The research focuses only on aspects of informal working; the informal economy represents a multi‐facetted and spatially diverse phenomenon.


This paper provides a detailed review of employment relations in non‐standard work in Africa, an area much neglected in the literature.



Fajana, S. (2008), "The Nigerian informal economy: Instigating decent work and pay, and national development through unionisation", Employee Relations, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 372-390.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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