30 August 2012

Nigeria: PHCN - Again, FG, Labour Fail to Reach Agreement

Talks between the Federal Government and Labour unions over the issues in the power sector Wednesday ended in a deadlock as there was no certainty as to when the two parties will meet again.

The talks continued Wednesday in Abuja at about 4.40pm and ended at 8.15pm at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Anyim Pius Anyim with other representatives of the government, management of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) in attendance.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, the President General of the TUC, Peter Esele, said Labour has shifted a little ground on its demand that electricity workers be paid the 25 per cent contribution to pension scheme which it had earlier insisted upon.

"Whatever we have agreed on today can be upturned tomorrow, not until we have everything in black and white," he said.

Esele added that the decision on whether the meeting would continue today after consultations with stakeholders was not decided.

"We made a little progress today, I will say the glass is half full, rather than half empty. The government has made some proposals, we have some disagreements, we have a sticky point on the issue of gratuity," he said.

Esele said "What we have agreed on is that if it is necessary for us to have a meeting, we will, if it is not necessary, there will be no meeting."

Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, told newsmen that the issues at stake are being thrashed one after the other.

He appealed for patience as the meeting adjourned. He however said the meeting is likely to resume Thursday.

THISDAY gathered that the Labour leaders are unhappy with the way the negotiations are going and may decide not to meet with government representatives Thursday.

Present at the meeting were Anyim, Wogu, Minister of State for Power, Mr. Dickson Ishaku, Director General of BPE, Ms. Bolanle Onagoruwa, Esele, Acting President of the NLC, Promise Adewusi, Secretary of the NUEE, Joe Ajaero, NUPENG President, Igwe Achese, NLC Head of Industrial Relations, Emma Ugbaja and among others.

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