PHCN privatisation: Labour issues Govt strike notice

Victor Ahiuma-Young

10 August 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – NIGERIA’s organised labour has issued a one-week ultimatum to the government to withdraw armed soldiers from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, headquarters and other installations and commence meaningful negotiations with the workers on the outstanding labour issues or face a nationwide industrial strike.

It also demanded far reaching action on insecurity in the country, corruption, crude oil theft, trial of fuel subsidy scam suspects, among others.

Briefing newsmen at the end of the national executive council meeting of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, in Benin City, NLC President, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, said the congress was specifically worried over happenings in the power sector.

He said NEC members demanded immediate setting up of strike committees across the country to prosecute the planned strike and directed NLC affiliate unions to commence action to compel the government and management of PHCN to implement agreements as contained in the conditions of service.

Omar said NEC condemned in its entirety the military takeover of the corporate headquarters of the PHCN over an industrial relations issue.

According to him, “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 percent contributions by the workers should be paid up to date. It 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.”

According to him, the NLC considers as illegal the current deductions by the Ministry of Power from the emoluments of PHCN employees.

He also said the meeting called for the prosecution of all those indicted by the House of Representatives fuel subsidy probe report and warned against the frustration of the trial process in any way or form.

The meeting also called on the government to do more to secure the lives and property of Nigerians in fulfillment of its social contract.

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  • Labour’s resort to threats of embarking on strike is not new. The workers cannot hold the rest of the country to ransom. Rather than resort to threats, organised labour must seek a negotiated settlement.

  • I like that. Demanding far reaching action on insecurity in the country, corruption, crude oil theft, trials of fuel subsidy scam suspects, etc.