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Labour And Federal Government Reach An Agreement To Suspend The Planned Strike Slated For Today

The Organised labour unions had scheduled an industrial strike slated for today, Monday, However, the unions and the federal government reached an agreement this morning on the contentious issues over the deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry and electricity, which led to a rise in petrol price and electricity tariffs.

Last Thursday, the meeting between the Federal Government and Labour unions was adjourned till today but it was rescheduled for yesterday in a desperate bid to reach an agreement in order to avert the strike.

The suspension was contained in a communique jointly signed by labour leaders and the Federal Government representatives, and read by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, at the end of the meeting that lasted about seven hours.

The communique reads:

“The parties agreed to set up a Technical Committee comprising Ministries, Departments, Agencies, NLC and TUC, which will work for two weeks, effective Monday, September 28.

“The committee will examine the justifications for the new policy, metering deployment, challenges and timeline for massive rollout.

“The Technical Committee membership is as follows: Mr Festus Keyamo(SAN), Minister of State Labour & Employment, Chairman; Mr Godwin Jedy-Agba, Minister of State Power, member; Prof. James Momoh, Chairman, National Electricity Regulatory Commission, member.

Others are Engr. Ahmad Rufai Zakari, SA to Mr President on Infrastructure; member/Secretary, Dr OnohoOmhen Ebhohimhen, member (NLC); Comrade Joe Ajaero, member (NLC); Comrade Chris Okonkwo, member (TUC), and a representative of DISCOs, member.

“The Terms of Reference (ToR) are as follows: To examine the justification for the new policy on cost-reflective Electricity Tariff adjustments.

According to the communique, the committee would “Look at the different Electricity Distribution Company (DISCOs) and their different electricity tariff vis-à-vis NERC order and mandate.

“Examine and advise the government on the issues that have hindered the deployment of the six million meters.

“To look into the NERC Act under review to expand its representation to include organised Labour.

“The Technical sub-committee is to submit its report within two weeks.

“During the two weeks, the DISCOs shall suspend the application of the cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments.

“The meeting also resolved that the following issues of concern to Labour should be treated as stand-alone items.

”The 40% stake of government in the DISCO and the stake of workers to be reflected in the composition of the DISCOs Boards.

“An all-inclusive and independent review of the power sector operations as provided in the privatisation MOU to be undertaken before the end of the year 2020, with Labour represented.

“That going forward, the moribund National Labour Advisory Council, NLAC, be inaugurated before the end of the year 2020 to institutionalise the process of tripartism and social dialogue on socio-economic and major labour matters to forestall the crisis.”

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