REPS TO PARLEY WITH ELECTRICITY WORKERS OVER PLANNED STRIKE
The leadership of the House of Representatives yesterday will meet with the warring members of the National Union of Electricity Employees [NUEE] to avoid a looming industrial action.
The decision to intervene in the industrial crisis in the power sector was taken after a motion drawing the attention of the House to the warning by the union moved by Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf [PDP] Kogi State.
In its resolution on a motion under Matters of Urgent Public Importance, the House leadership was urged to dialogue with NUEE, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity and all stake-holder agencies to avert the strike.
Yusuf who spoke on the need for the House to intervene on the demand by workers for 50 per cent pay-off emoluments as government deregulates the sector, consequent upon which a one day warning strike had been planned by the union, noted that the effect of a total shutdown of power would be disastrous. He reminded the House that the negotiated 50 per cent emolument had been a subject of dispute between the workers and the government.
The intervention of the House, he stated, would complement the directives by Vice President Namadi Sambo to the Federal ministry of Labour and Productivity to speed up implementation of the negotiated agreement.
Former Chairman of the House Committee on Power, Mr Patrick Ikhariale, in his contribution, stated that the fears being expressed by workers in the sector over government's deregulation efforts were not 100 per cent genuine.
He noted that reversing the process would take the country 10 years backward from what was achieved so far since 2002 when the deregulation process began.
Ikhariale said that while he was not opposed to the idea of advising the workers, as well as appealing to their conscience, there was the need for caution. Hon. Aminu Suleiman, however, opposed Ikhariale, accusing the government of insincerity in implementing the agreement. 'If we allow complete privatisation of the sector as presently constituted, the whole workers stand the risk of losing their jobs,' he stated and advised that the immediate intervention be made, while a permanent solution is sought.
In a motion on the failed Benin- Okene Expressway, Hon Abubakar Momoh, informed the House that a portion of the road linking the South -South , the South- East to Abuja and the Northern parts of the country, had collapsed.
Titled: 'Devastating gully erosion threatening to cut off the Benin/Okene Road..,' Momoh said the road endangers motorists due to the deep gullies which have taken over more than half of the road.
The House therefore, gave the Federal Ministry Works two weeks to provide it with reasons the contract for the rehabilitation of the road had not been implemented several years after it was allegedly awarded. Also, it directed the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to urgently commence repairs on the road, and all other federal highways in the country which are in similar state.