BY Clara Nwachukwu
The first round of meetings to kick-start negotiations between the Federal Government and the trade unions in Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, will commence on May 16, in Abuja.

The meeting is at the instance the newly- appointed Federal Government Chief Negotiator/Conciliator with respect to negotiations between the Government and the labour unions of PHCN, Alhaji Hassan Sunmonu.

The negotiator disclosed this last week, when he met with the government representatives under the chairmanship of the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Chukwuemeka Wogu.

Sunmonu, the founding President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, early last week, accepted the government’s offer to serve as its chief negotiator/conciliator in the outstanding labour issues between it and PHCN workers.

The veteran unionist met with the unions in PHCN on April 19th in Lagos, after which he announced that the negotiation agenda will commence on May 16th.

Sunmonu added that submissions and documents from both parties will be tendered as from Thursday, May 3rd, “so that they can be circulated in advance of the first meeting in order to ensure meaningful and productive discussions from the start.”

It will be recalled that the appointment of Sunmonu is to ensure that labour unions are carried along in the Power Sector Reform process and for peaceful/speedy resolution of all labour issues in PHCN.

In his acceptance letter as a negotiator, Sunmonu, who is also the Secretary General of the Organisation of African Trade Union Unity, noted that “I accept the appointment, in spite of my busy schedule because of the strategic importance of the power sector on the socio-economic development of Nigeria.”

The former NLC president who is based in Accra, Ghana, kept his promise to come to Nigeria early last week, “to meet with all the stakeholders to discuss details of the modalities of our assignment and the work plan.”

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