By VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
LAGOS — Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, NECA, yesterday, in Lagos, warned the Federal Government and new owners of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, facilities of imminent industrial unrest in the power sector that would make the expected gains of the privatisation of power meaningless.
The umbrella body for employers in the country at a briefing on ‘Promoting Industrial Harmony, Productivity and National Development in the Post-Reform Era of Power (Electricity) sector: Issues and Challenges,’ insisted mere physical hand-over of facilities would not guarantee stable power supply, but all other variables, especially the issue of industrial relations, declaring that industrial crisis now would make meaningless the promises and prospects of the reforms in the sector.
Director General of NECA, Mr. Olusegun Oshinowo, who explained that the environment that would make the workers to give their best must be addressed.
He contended if the industrial relations practice and system in the electricity sector was not handled with professionalism and given utmost attention, it could frustrate whatever benefits anticipated in the new dispensation.
Oshinowo, however, said the body had invited the new owners for a meeting on November 27 to address the issue of industrial relations under the new era, hoping that they would honour the invitation in the interest of the nation.
According to him: “Any failure to recognise that right of workers to unionise, will throw a spanner into the entire template of guaranteeing regular power supply in this economy.
“The right to associate with union of their choice, the right to collective bargaining must be recognised by the new employers.
“These are big issues that nobody is talking about. As far as the Bureau of Public Enterprises, PBE, and the National Electricty Regulartion Commission, NERC, are concerned, they have done the needful in terms of privatising the physical assets.
“I have not seen in their template, the reform plan for industrial relations. Now guaranteeing regular electricity supply goes beyond hand-over.”