Power face-off: Govt, Labour meeting deadlocked

Victor Ahiuma-Young

16 August 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA — THE meeting between the Federal Government and organized labour, Wednesday over the deployment of armed soldiers to Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, and unresolved labour issues, over which labour has threatened nationwide strike, ahead of the planned privatization of PHCN, ended in deadlock.

Though the seven days ultimatum by Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, to government over the crisis ends tomorrow, Sweetcrude gathered that both parties agreed to reconvene on Wednesday August 22, since Monday and Tuesday had been declared public holidays by the government .

It was gathered that labour delegation led by the leaders of NLC and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, insisted that the withdrawal of armed soldiers was a precondition for any negotiation.

According to sources, the government side led by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, assured that before the next meeting, the issue would be communicated to the parties for appropriate action.

It was learnt that, though the Minister of Power did not attend the meeting, a director from the ministry and some of the minister’s aides were in attendance.

However, it was gathered that the Labour Minister promised to ensure that his Power Ministry counterpart attended the August 22 meeting.
However a communiqué issued by the Labour ministry at end of the meeting read: “Issues of obstacles to continued discussions on the Power Sector Reform were discussed. The meeting agreed to reconvene on Wednesday, August 22, 2012 to continue the discussions on the issues raised, including the notice to embark on strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC.”

“Meanwhile, the payment of full salary for July to PHCN workers was assured while the presence of security personnel in the offices of PHCN will be subsequently addressed.”

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  • Even though deadlocked, what is important is that there is an ongoing avenue for meaningful dialogue. We urge both parties to stay the course and pursue resolution of outstanding issues tenaciously.