- ‘ Cases of rape rise to 84% in Nigeria’
- Dana air crash update: 23 aircrash victims’ families yet to receive compensation
- Mimiko inaugurates new Mother & Child hospital today
- N4.56b pension scam: Female accused hospitalised,trial stalled
- Construction workers hail FG’s decision on Lagos-Ibadan expressway
- Senate adjourns plenary for 1 week, dissolves to Appropriation committee.
- Blackout looms as Egbin power plant breaks down
- FMBN, NEXIM, BOA, IB lose N47bn in 6 months - CBN
- FirstBank wins Nigerian Bank of the Year award
- PDP tackles ACN over Tukur’s comments
- Electricity workers threaten strike over Wamakko
- ‘NDIC prosecuted 55 directors, staff of micro finance banks in 2011’
- Judgment in Oni’s appeal stalled, re-fixed for Jan 8
- Slain banker: Deceased had only 3 wounds -Accused’s father
- Appointments: S/West not marginalised —FCC
Wogu calls for dialogue with NLC, TUC over PHCN crisis
The Federal Government has moved swiftly to douse tension and resolve what could degenerate into a national crisis, against the backdrop of a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held by union leaders in Benin recently, as the government has summoned the leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to a crucial meeting over the crisis in the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) today.
The meeting was called at the instance of the Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu, following the declaration of a strike action by the NLC over the handling of the PHCN crisis, especially the military takeover of the corporate headquarters of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), over an industrial relations issue.
The meeting will be held at the conference room of the Federal Ministry of Labour, Federal Secretariat, Abuja.
Wogu, who was accused by the NLC of partisanship in the style and manner of his intervention in the PHCN imbroglio, moved quickly to begin negotiations with the congress.
“NEC condemns the style and manner of intervention in the PHCN imbroglio by the Minister of Labour. His bye-passing of the unions and attempting to deal directly with workers, which appears to be a regular occurrence, portrays him as a minister always seeking to take the side of employers, instead of the expected role of an arbiter.
“NEC believes that the Minister of Labour for effective performance, ought to enjoy the confidence of the social partners,” Comrade Omar said while reading the communiqué issued after the NEC meeting, held in Benin, Edo State capital.
Comrade Omar added: “NEC calls on the Federal Government to within the next one week, withdraw the army from PHCN installations and commence negotiations with the unions on outstanding labour issues.
“Congress reiterates its earlier position that the New Pension Act did not abolish gratuity and that the 25 per cent contributions by the workers should be paid up to date.
“NEC holds the view that there cannot be retroactive contribution, hence if the PHCN management intends to migrate to the new pension policy, they should go into an agreement with the unions and agree on the commencement date to start the contribution.
“Accordingly, NEC considers the current gun-point deductions directed by the ministry of power as illegal as the new Pension Act 2004 provides for the worker to open an account with a PFA of choice and submit same to their employer for remittance.
“NEC warns that if by the end of one week, government and management of PHCN refuse to commence negotiations with the unions, Congress and its allies may be forced to commence a nationwide industrial action in support of the unions. To prosecute this action, NEC directs that strike committees be set up immediately across the country.
“NEC directs the unions in the power sector to commence actions to compel the management of PHCN and government to implement agreements as contained in their collective agreements.”
The congress also warned that “if the minister carries on like this, Congress will be compelled to boycott all government activities involving him.”
But in a swift reaction, the Minister was said to have contacted the labour leaders one after the other to work out the best possible way to resolve the crisis before it degenerates.
Labour leaders have agreed to a meeting slated for today to begin negotiation.
In a statement issued by the Assistant Director, Ministry of Labour, Prince Samuel Olowookere and titled: “Threat of nationwide power outage; labour minister to meet with organized labour unions,” said the meeting will among other things discuss current labour issues existing in the power sector.
The statement read: “Towards ensuring hitch free power sector reform and in response to reports of looming power outage due to threat of industrial action by workers in the power sector the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu, has in a letter dated, August 10, 2012 invited the labour movement to a meeting.
“The meeting which is scheduled for Wednesday August 15, 2012, by 2:00pm, will among other things discuss current labour issues existing in the power sector.
“Chief Wogu assured Nigerian workers of the Federal Government’s commitment to implementing collective agreements, while encouraging the labour unions to further embrace the spirit of tripartism in the interest of the entire Nation.
“The Minister emphasized that the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is developmental oriented, while soliciting the continued support of labour unions and other stakeholders.”Share