Comrade Abdulwahed Omar
Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the Federal Government to withdraw armed troops from all installations of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and resume dialogue with the members of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) over their pension and gratuity demands.
The President of the Congress, Comrade Abdulwahed Omar in a statement issued in Abuja Friday said it has become apparent that the ongoing negotiations between the two parties have broken down; he however pointed out that there is still room for more dialogue instead of the resort to high handed methods.
Omar added that the Chief Negotiator, Comrade Hassan Sunmonu who is the pioneer President of the NLC and the Secretary of the Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU) is yet to submit his report to government which signifies that dialogue options are still open.
The current face off is being caused by disagreement over pension and gratuity issues among others. While the union had demanded for 25 percent, which hitherto had been deducted from workers salary for pension and gratuity, the government had insisted on paying 25 percent up till 2004, and 15 per cent from 2005 to date.
The union had further argued that pension and gratuity is part of the condition of service of all PHCN workers and their employers have been deducting the 25 per cent to date. That the Pension Act, which government is hinging the payment of 15 per cent ostensibly on when the Act came into being was not tenable, Omar recalled.