Daily Trust (Abuja)

18 August 2012

Nigeria: Power Holdings Company Strike - Deceit Threatens Talks, Labour Congress Warns

Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said the insincerity on the part of Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji may lead to a collapse of talks between government and organised labour on a strike threat issued by electricity workers.

The NLC disclosed this yesterday at a press briefing in Abuja, accusing government of inciting Nigerians against workers through deliberate falsehood and propaganda.

The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and the NLC had two weeks ago issued a strike notice to the Federal Government on the need for due process to be followed in the disengagement of workers as government plans to privatise the electricity sector and fold up the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN)

Both parties ended a meeting last Wednesday on way to resolve the matter but couldn't conclude but agreed to meet again coming Wednesday.

Acting President of the NLC Comrade Promise Adewusi said workers are worried by the "antics" of some government officials on the impasse in negotiations between the workers of the PHCN and the Federal Government.

Adewusi, who said that all parties agreed that negotiations would be done in good faith, added that "it is highly irresponsible for the Minister to incite the public against workers demanding for their legitimate right with a view to criminalizing them to justify his crude militarization of the workplace, he noted.

Adewusi called on the Federal Government to call Nnaji to order and create an enabling environment for meaningful dialogue by also withdrawing soldiers from PHCN facilities and setting up a high powered committee to address the concerns of the workers.

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