FOLLOWING successful agreement with unions in the electricity sector, government is set to commence fulfillment of its own side of the bargain.
Already, an initial sum of N170b is to be disbursed for payment of gratuities this week.
A landmark agreement that heralded the much sought-after peace between government and the unions in the electricity sector was reached, last Tuesday.
Both parties agreed that the total workers’ pension, as at June 30, 2007, would be paid in accordance with the 2010 Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) conditions of service. 25 per cent is payable to exiting PHCN staff while 75 per cent shall be paid into the Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs).
The agreement noted: “The total accrued gratuity, as at June 30, 2012, shall be paid in accordance with the defined benefit scheme stipulated in the PHCN 2010 conditions of service. 15 per cent pension contribution shall be paid from July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2012 in accordance with the provisions of the Pension Reform Act 2004.”
At a National Power Summit in Lagos on Saturday, the Ministry of Power once again reiterated its eagerness to fulfill terms and conditions for the peace deal as it announced that the sum of N170b was ready for disbursement to the accounts of the workers.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power, Dr. Dere Awosika, who spoke on the state of issues reached with the workers, stressed that the Federal Government, through the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) is calculating the total cost of pension and gratuities of the workers.
Awosika stressed that government would, in the week, issue letters to electricity workers to forward their Retirement Savings Account (RSA) to facilitate transfer of the funds.
Meanwhile, government has commenced efforts at ensuring that electricity workers who would soon be under new paymasters, as a result of the privatisation of electricity utilities, are not short-changed by the preferred bidders.
Working with the various unions in the sector, the Ministry of Power is putting together a special training programme to equip them with sufficient knowledge to be able to negotiate appropriately under private owners.
Awosika, who dropped this hint at the summit, said: “We are looking to strengthen the knowledge of the key officials of the unions to be able to negotiate with the new owners on employment and other related terms. We want to assist them to midwife a process that can speak for them during the post privatisation era.”
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