ABUJA (Labour Ministry Report) – The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu has said that the Nigerian Government is committed to ensuring the entrenchment of fair labour practices and decent work in its new employment relations.
Emeka Wogu disclosed this in Abuja during the inauguration of the Technical Working Group (TWG) for the development of the operational guidelines on industrial relations for the reformed power sector. He indicated that a National Joint Industrial Council for the Power Sector would be established and empowered to engage in collective bargaining activities, consistent with the global best practices in the sector.
The Labour Minister noted that the employment relations have arisen from the restructuring and privatization of the power sector of the Nigerian economy in furtherance of the implementation of the Transformation Agenda. Adding, the task of the Technical Working Group (TWG) is enormous and involves the consideration of all the industrial relations issues pertaining to maintaining industrial peace.
He further charged the TWG to develop the operational guidelines on industrial relations for the industry in order to ensure the protection of the rights of workers and employers in the workplace. He observed that the inauguration of the TWG was a follow-up to his mediatory meeting of April 7, 2014 which examined the grievances and secured the call-off of an industrial action by members of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) at the Jos Distribution Company over non-remittance of check-off dues to the NUEE.
He identified other participants at the mediatory meeting to include: the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Power as well as that of Labour and Productivity; the Director-General of Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), the General Secretary of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and some of the new investors in the power sector.
Wogu reiterated the importance of the task of the TWG in the power sector in the country’s quest to attain sustainable economic development and growth; saying the essence of the occasion was to reflect on the state of industrial relations in the power sector and to chart new ways of ensuring industrial peace and harmony which are critical to the realization of the Transformation Agenda.
According to him, the restructuring of the privatization exercise had given rise to new employment relationships that need to be understood by the social partners, in order to ensure fair labour practices and decent work. ‘The TWG, he said became extremely necessary towards ensuring peace and harmony amongst social partners in the critical sector.’
The Labour Minister listed the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the TWG as involving the following: review of the previous MoUs signed by social partners since the reform process; identifying and making recommendations on outstanding issues, especially those perceived as unfair labour practices; considering and making recommendations on the application of the eight (8) core International Labour Conventions ratified by Nigeria within the context of the new investors in the reformed power sector.
Also mentioned were: considering and making recommendations on the concerns of the social partners, including the issue of casualization and contract staffing in the reformed power sector. The intention to produce a workable industrial relations guideline in the sector and to establish a National Joint Industrial Council for the sector with a structure of collective bargaining, consistent with global best practices was also highlighted. He indicated that any other matter that will promote Industrial Relations Practices in the sector could be engaged.
“The Committee which has three months from the date of its inauguration on April 28, 2014 to submit its report comprises – the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity as Chairman and members drawn from the Federal Ministry of Power and the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA). Some selected core investors in the power sector and the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) as well as the Senior Staff Association of Electricity Employees and Allied Companies (SSAEAC), the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) are also members,” he opined.
The Minister disclosed that the National Joint Industrial Council Secretariat would be jointly provided and serviced by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity and the Federal Ministry of Power.
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