BY KUNLE KALEJAYEA
LAGOS—UNIONS in the Power sector have called on the Federal Government to ensure that labour issues were settled before the privatization of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.
The unions under the aegis of Senior Staff of Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, and National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, spoke at a sensitisation programme in Lagos.
General Secretary of NUEE, Mr. Joe Ajero, said the unions were confronted with issues of negotiation with government which had lingered for the past fourteen months.
He said despite efforts of the unions to let the government understand the reasons why workers benefits must be paid before folding up PHCN but “nothing concrete has been achieved by both parties. We have been discussing with government in the last fourteen months now, on workers benefits but we have not reached any agreement.”
Ajero however, urged the Federal Government to be more sincere in their move to privatise the power sector, and settlement of workers benefits before the final taken over of the sector by the private investors, saying “We are asking for what belong to us, not separating us from our job when it is not time. Even if we are leaving PHCN today, they should settle us for what we have done.”
Ajero noted that the issue of workers’ pension and gratuity was the one bothering the Federal Government because it amounted to billions of Naira.
Also speaking at the event, Mr Bede Opara, the President General of SSAEAC urged the Federal Government to make sure that the PHCN workers benefits were settled according to agreement between the two unions before the privatizing the power sector.
He said “Now that PHCN is about to be privatized let them settle us before they hand us over to another employer of labour in other to make things easy for us.”