Vanguard (Lagos)

10 August 2012

Nigeria: NLC Gives FG One-Week Strike Notice

NIGERIA Labour Congress, NLC, has issued a one-week ultimatum to the Federal 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.

This came as it demanded far reaching action on insecurity in the country, corruption, crude oil theft, trial of fuel subsidy scam suspects, murder of Olaitan Oyerinde, among others. It insisted on prosecution of all the accused and warned against the frustration of the trial process in any way or form.

At the end of its National Executive Council, NEC, meeting in Benin City, Edo State, the NLC called on the Federal Government to not only do more to secure the lives and property of its citizens in fulfillment of its social contract, but also to quickly find solutions to end this spate of alarming insecurity.

Briefing newsmen on the communique, President of NLC, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, called for prosecution of all the accused and warned against the frustration of the trial process in any way or form, insisting that anything to the contrary could attract grave consequences.

Giving details of NLC grouse with government over happenings in the power sector, NEC members demanded immediate setting up of strike committees across the country to prosecute the planned strike and directed the unions in the sector to commence actions 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."

NEC considers the current deductions directed by the Ministry of Power as illegal as the new Pension Act 2004 provides for the workers to open an account with a PFA of their choice and submit same to their employer for remittance.

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