THE Federal Government on Wednesday announced that it would from today commence the payment of N348 billion being the agreed entitlements of sacked staff of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu and his Power counterpart, Professor Chinedu Nebo, in a joint briefing, told State House correspondents in Abuja that President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the payment of what has been agreed to the workers.
Following the privatization the assets of the company, government had agreed with organized labour to pay off the workers made up of about 50,000 regular and 4,000 unregularised staff such that whoever would be absorbed in the new company would sign on to new conditions of service.
Wogu emphasized that it was only what was agreed in the last negotiation between the relevant parties that was approved for payment and implored the relevant parties to cooperate in the exercise.
He said: “I want to inform you that the agreed benefits accruing to the staff of PHCN in the last negotiation between government and the labour unions has been approved by President Jonathan.
“Payment of the agreed sum will commence immediately and that brings to an end, the issue of non-payment of benefits. So, we enjoin labour unions in the power sector to work closely with the Ministry of Power in the payment of these benefits as agreed.
“The process will commence tomorrow (today) and I want to assure them that this bring to an end the labour issue in the sector.”
He recalled that the number of those to be paid were arrived at through a biometric exercise jointly conducted by the federal government and labour while the number of beneficiaries has been clearly defined in the agreement.
According to him, “This payment is only for PHCN staff and in determining who should benefit, labour and government conducted a biometric exercise. The number of people benefiting is clearly defined by this agreement.