Labour to govt: pay 16 months arrears of 48,000 ex-PHCN workers

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The United Labour Congress (ULC) has urged the Federal Government to pay the severance package of 48,000 workers of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) disengaged four years ago.

The union said the workers were still owed over 16 months’ arrears in agreed payments, while over 2,000 more workers have not received any severance package since then.

The President of ULC, Joe Ajaero, who spoke during the union’s, Central Working Committee (CWC) in Lagos, said the over 2000 workers were wallowing in hunger and suffering with their family members.

Ajaero said the union expected President Muhammadu Buhari’s government,  after three years, to critically review the privatisation of the electricity industry.

He said the Chairman, National Council on Privatisation (NCP), Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, had not mentioned the issue since he came on board.

According to him, the status quo has rather deepened even as the nation suffers increasing gaps in electricity supply as more households wallow in darkness.

Ajaero called on government to review the privatisation of the electricity sector rather than extorting Nigerians through estimated billings and poor electricity supply.

He said: “The power sector privatisation exercise has not worked and has currently become a platform for official corruption.

“We do not understand why this government will continue the fraudulent dishing of taxpayers’ fund to private entities to which it has sold its assets.

“While we support any programme and actions that will lead to new investments in Nigeria, thus creating jobs for the citizens, we do not support half-baked, ill-conceived and politically driven projzects that are fraught with irregularities and corruption.”

Ajaero canvassed the immediate passage of the National Minimum Wage bill into law as soon as the committee concludes negotiation.

He said the minimum wage negotiation had dragged on for too long and the committee should endeavour to meet up with the deadline.

“We also hope that all relevant agencies that should implement the new wage will do so as soon as the bill is passed,” he said.

He urged Buhari to assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill since it has already been passed.

He further called on the government to release the certificate of the ULC so that the nation’s industrial relations clime would be inclusive and robust.

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