Govt moves to halt industrial disharmony in power sector

Power transmission tower11 May 2014, Lagos – THE Federal Government has set up a Technical Working Group, TWG, to develop operational guidelines on industrial relations for the reformed power sector aimed at establishing a National Joint Industrial Council for the sector.

The guide line, will be empowered with a structure of Collective Bargaining, CB, consistent with global best practices in the sector.

Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, who spoke in Abuja at the inauguration of the TWG, said the federal government was committed to ensuring the entrenchment of fair labour practices and decent work in the new employment relations arising from the restructuring and privatisation of the power sector in Nigeria.

A statement by Prince Samuel Olowookere, Deputy Director, Press, quoted the minister as saying that the task of the TWG was enormous and involved the consideration of all the industrial relations issues inimical to industrial peace.

Wogu charged the TWG to develop operational guidelines on industrial relations for the industry that would ensure the protection of the rights of workers and employers in the workplace.

He explained that the inauguration of the TWG was a follow-up to the mediatory meeting of April 7, 2014, which examined the grievances and secured the call-off of an industrial action by members of National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, at the Jos Distribution Company over non-remittance of check-off dues to the NUEE.

Wogu underscored the importance of the task of the TWG in view of the critical place of the power sector in Nigeria’s march towards sustainable economic development and growth, saying “It is pertinent to note that the essence of this occasion is to reflect on the state of industrial relations in the power sector and to chart new ways of ensuring industrial peace and harmony which are critical to the realisation of this administration’s transformation agenda.

“However, in recognition of the fact that the restructuring attendant on the privatisation exercise had given rise to new employment relationships that need to be understood by the social partners in order to ensure fair labour practice and decent work, the TWG became extremely necessary towards ensuring peace and harmony amongst social partners in this critical sector.”

He listed the terms of reference of the TWG as follows: To review previous MoUs signed by the social partners since the reform process; identify and make recommendations on outstanding issues, especially those perceived as unfair labour practices; consider and make recommendations on the application of the eight core international labour conventions ratified by Nigeria within the context of the new investors in the reformed power sector; consider and make recommendations on the concerns of the social partners, including the issue of casualization and contract staffing in the reformed power sector with a view to produce a workable Industrial Relations Guideline in the sector; to establish a National Joint Industrial Council for the sector with a structure of collective bargaining consistent with global best practices in the sector, and any other matter that will promote industrial relations practices in the sector.”
*Victor Ahiuma-Young – Vanguard

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