09 July 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – For the umpteenth time, the Nigerian government has failed to reach agreement with the organised labour union in the electricity sector over the sale of national power monopoly, Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.
The government had been in talks in the last two weeks with the workers of the 18 successor firms from the unbundled PHCN.
The deadline for the privatisation of the utility company, as set by the government is October this year.
According to Nick Agbo, Special Assistant to the Minister of Power on Labour, the government and the workers agreed on some issues, but did not reach agreement on gratuities.
The workers, he said, wanted their gratuities to be computed on the Labour Act of 1990 because it provides more cash to them.
But, Agbo explained that the Act has been reviewed and replaced with the Labour Act of 2004, on which the the government wants the computation to be based on.
This caused a deadlock, following which two parties agreed to wait for the report of the chief negotiator, Alhaji Hassan Sunmonu, who is expected to make his report to the government.
The government is expected to take the final decision on the report after going through it.
It is uncertain if the government would agree to shift the October deadline for PHCN privatisation should agreement between it and labour extends beyond the deadline.
But, Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, spokesman, Chukwuma Nwokoh, said the agency would stick to the milestone set for the achievement of the government’s privatisation.