by Isi Esene
The Nigerian Labour Congress might be heading for another nationwide industrial strike if its demands are not met by the Federal Government. The Labour Union made its intention known yesterday after its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Benin, Edo State, which discussed several issues regarding the state of the nation.
The Labour Union called for the withdrawal of armed military men from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) headquarters and installations. It also advised the FG to bring all power stakeholders to the negotiation table to discuss their outstanding labour issues before the planned privatization of the sector takes place.
According to the Vanguard Newspapers, President of NLC, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, also demanded far-reaching actions from the government on various national issues bothering on insecurity, corruption, crude oil theft, fuel subsidy scandal, murder of Olaitan Oyerinde, among others.
The Union singled out the problem of insecurity where it accused the government of failing in its responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of citizens as enshrined in the constitution.
It later directed its affiliate unions nationwide to put plans in motion for a full-fledged nationwide strike if these demands are not met within the period of one week.
According to Omar, “NEC calls on the Federal Government to within the next one week, withdraw the army from PHCN installations and commence negotiations with the unions on outstanding labour issues.
“Congress reiterates its earlier position that the New Pension Act did not abolish gratuity and that the 25 percent contributions by the workers should be paid up to date. It holds the view that there cannot be retroactive contribution, hence if the PHCN management intends to migrate to the new pension policy, they should go into an agreement with the unions and agree on the commencement date to start the contribution.”
It subsequently directed the unions in the power sector to commence actions to compel the government and management of PHCN to implement agreements as contained in the conditions of service.
We shall be observing to see if the NLC is serious about going ahead with these threats or it’s just a gambit to force the arm of the FG to do its bidding.