The Nigerian Labour Congress says it will not negotiate with the Federal Government on the dispute between government and workers of PHCN until soldiers at the premises of PHCN’s headquarters are removed.
Head of Industrial Relations of the NLC, Mr. Emmanuel Ugboaja, who spoke on behalf of labour, said this in Abuja on Wednesday.
According to him, the Federal Government still has 48 hours to withdraw the military personnel at the PHCN before the union will take further action.
He added that there was no way there could be any negotiation between NLC and government when the Minister of Power, Prof Bart Nnaji, was not present at the meeting.
Ugboaja said the union honoured the invitation from Chief Emeka Wogu, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, based on the NLC’s respect for laws and constituted authorities in the country.
He said NLC opposed the presence of armed military at the headquarters of PHCN in Abuja by the Federal Government.
According to him, NLC at its National Executive Council meeting held in Benin, Edo, last week, said it was not comfortable with the welfare of workers in the power sector.
Ugboaja explained that NLC in the meeting gave a one week ultimatum to the government that the power sector should be returned to a normal work place and not a war zone.
Ugboaja said the meeting of NLC with the minister should not be mistaken to mean the commencement of second meeting it requested with the government on the negotiation.
He explained that labour was committed to dialogue in resolving labour disputes with the government, adding that the beginning of the negotiation would first be the removal of military personnel from the headquarters of PHCN in Abuja.
He added that any negotiation by labour with the government would amount to “negotiation under duress”.
According to him, due to the dispute the Federal Government has not paid the workers of PHCN their salaries since June.
Ugboaja, however, said NLC was ready to work with the non-governmental organisations to help in settling the trade dispute with the Federal Government.