By Linda Eroke
Federal Government Tuesday summoned leaders of the two unions in the power sector to an emergency meeting in Abuja on Friday over the threat to commence on indefinite strike today to protest alleged breach of agreement by the power ministry.
The union leaders claimed that there was a deliberate attempt by government to shortchange workers at the end of the ongoing negotiations which will be concluded on April 16, 2012.
The two unions in the sector, the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) had in a letter to the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, noted with dismay the obstinate posture of the Minister of Power, Prof. Bath Nnaji, in tackling the challenges and labour related issues in the power sector.
The letter signed by the secretaries of both unions, Joe Ajaero and Abiodun Ogunsegha, listed unpaid 50 per cent salary increase, regularisation of casuals, staff biometric verification exercise, winding down of corporate headquarters of PHCN and sack of top executive officers of PHCN as part of their grievances.
However, in a bid to avert the strike, the labour minister has appealed to the labour leaders to halt their planned industrial action in line with the extant labour law.
The letter which was signed by the Acting Director, Department of Trade Unions Services and Industrial Relations Mrs. C Dike on behalf of the minister reads: “In view of the very recent notice issued by your trade union in a letter dated April 5, 2012, to embark on an industrial action, I am directed to invite you to an emergency meeting scheduled to hold at the Conference Room of the Honourable Minister of Labour and Productivity, Federal Secretariat Complex, Abuja on Friday, April 13, 2012 by 12 noon.
“In view of the intervention by the Honourable Minister to ensure the amicable resolutions of the points in dispute, you are advised to kindly be mindful of the provisions of Section 18 of the Trade Disputes ACT, CAP T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004, which prohibits strikes or lock outs where a dispute has been apprehended.”
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