Labour issues still unresolved in PHCN privatisation

phcn209 July 2013, Lagos – The National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, has refuted claims by the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo that labour issues with the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN workers has been resolved.

The minister was quoted on a national television last week that the Federal Government had resolved outstanding contentious issues with the workers.

But the Lagos State Chairman of NUEE, Comrade Adeleke Ibrahim, maintained that the core labour issues have not been settled, noting that the minister had made similar pronouncements in March, 2013.

He said: “In March this year, the Minister of Labour said Labour issues have been settled with PHCN workers, but we have not seen anything yet. None of our members have been settled.

“Only last week, we saw the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo on national television saying that labour issues have been settled and severance payment will be made by the end of July.

“We will watch and see if government will fulfill their promise at the end of this month (July)”.

Ibrahim however, admitted that the Federal Government is currently looking into the severance payment of PHCN workers before handing over assets to investors.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government had disclosed that it will hand over 15 of the successfully privatised successor companies heaved off the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, to their winning investors by the end of July 2013.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Power, Hajia Zainab Kuchi had earlier hinted that all labour issues have been address adding that payment of severance will commence at the end of June.

“We are finalising on labour, the labour is what is standing between us and the handing over and all the issues that were there had been addressed. We are about to begin payment, as soon as the payments are finalised by June ending, we will definitely be handing over to the successor companies by the end of July; that is the projection we have here and that is the stance of the BPE which has a timeline which was created with the labour issues in mind.

“We have taken over all the problems and addressed all the issues, the funding is there for the payment of labour and all we are doing is data computation and as soon as we are done with that the handing over will be done,”Kuchi said.

– Kunle Kalejaye, Vanguard

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