Challenging the Sophistry of Common Law and Statutory Bargaining Power Paradigms in Employment Relationships in Nigeria and the United Kingdom


  • Inemesit Okon Bassey University of Uyo
  • Eyakndue Ekpenyong Ntekim University of Uyo.


equality of bargaining power, employment, freedom of contract, labour relations, collective bargaining


Bargaining power is intrinsic in commercial contractual relationships. Elementary law of contract
suggests that in every facet of contractual relationships and in the absence of undue influence and
duress, the playing field is equal between the parties to the contract. In employment relationships
however, there exist the divergent interests the employer on one hand as the possessor/controller
of the means of production with the supervening quest for profit and control, and the employee
on the other hand as the possessor of only his labour and driven by the desire for wages, benefits
and inclusion. This paper posits that these competing interests results in conflict between the
primary actors in employment relationships. The study further submits that to resolve these
conflicts, bargaining power has shifted from common law generalities to statutory interventions
in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. Utilising the doctrinal method, this paper examines these
statutory intervention with emphasis on how bargaining power is equalized in employment
relationships. This paper further submits that equality of bargaining power in employment
relationships remain a myth in Nigerian commercial and labour law. This study recommends
statutory enactment and amendments where applicable, judicial activism on the status of
collective agreements and the resorting to regional mechanisms to affect requisite change in
employees’ status quo.

Author Biographies

Inemesit Okon Bassey, University of Uyo

Inemesit Okon Bassey LLMDoctoral Candidate, Faculty of Law, University of Uyo,

Eyakndue Ekpenyong Ntekim, University of Uyo.

Eyakndue Ekpenyong Ntekim Vice Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Uyo.