No deal yet with govt on PHCN privatisation – Labour

29 February 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) says no deal has yet been struck between the federal government and the organised labour on the demands of the electricity workers on the on-going privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

The union was reacting to a recent media report that it had reached agreement with government on about 85 per cent of the demand.

According to the union, negotiations up to the fourth round of negotiations on power sector reforms last Saturday in Abuja have seen agreement on less than 10 per cnt of the demands.

There is no agreement yet on the workers’ demand for an across the board implementation of the National Minimum Wage Act, with the government team arguing that the Act was applicable only to workers earning less than N18,000 per month.

The meeting could not also agree on the issue of 4,000 workers retired in year 2000, a case which is in court.

Joe Ajaero, General Secretary of NUEE, in a statement, said the meeting achieved over 90 per cent disagreements, stressing that government lacked the sincerity and commitment in implementing the reforms in the power sector.

“The Government representatives reneged on agreeing on almost all of the issues, hinging their cold approach on lack of mandate and financial capabilities. The just concluded meeting exposed the team’s lack of sincerity and commitment in undertaking the much touted Power Sector Reform Agenda,” the statement reads in part.

It added: “For instance, they vehemently avoided any form of monetary commitment to the workers as panacea for further discourse to pave way for smooth transition. If government lacks the financial muscle to prosecute such a programme, why deceive the people by executing most of the projects on the pages of Newspapers?
“We hope this will not be like the era of General Abacha when so many projects were done by proxy and people coerced into accepting conditions inimical to their economic lives and social concerns. The resort to media campaign when issues ought to be sorted out are left untouched will not help Nigerians in any way.

“It is expedient at this point to state that almost nothing came out of the meeting that lasted for about a week. Herewith attached are the resolutions in the meeting for your perusal.”

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