Nigerian electricity workers have agreed to suspend their nationwide strike, which led to total blackout in different parts of the country.
The electricity workers under the joint umbrella of National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEC) agreed to suspend the industrial action, following the intervention of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.
Ngige had summoned an emergency conciliation meeting between the Federal Government and the workers on Wednesday to resolve the issues that precipitated the industrial action.
The issues are the alleged contravention of their Conditions of Service and Career Progression, stigmatisation of electricity staff by the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation and refusal of the market operators to fund the payment of entitlements of ex-PHCN staff as agreed in the December 2019 agreement.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, which lasted about four hours, the Secretary General of NUEE, Comrade Joe Ajaero, said they have been asked to suspend their strike action.
Ajaero expressed hope that the government would act in good faith on the issues in dispute which have lingered for years, to a very dangerous point.
He said they would take a pause on the industrial action and wait for two weeks as agreed in the meeting for the government to address their grievances.
Also, the President of SSAEC, Comrade Chika Ben assured the nation that the matter would be nipped in the bud before it escalates, adding that there would be no further blackout in any part of the country.
On his part, about the outcome of the meeting, Ngige said after exhaustive deliberations on the issues in dispute, they agreed to constitute a bipartite committee to look into the grievances of the electricity workers and report back in two weeks.
According to him, the members of the bipartite committee include the Minister of State for Power, Jeddy Agba (Chairman), Permanent Secretary, Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Permanent Secretary, General Services, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, representative of BPE and two representatives from NUEE and SSAEC.
The Minister said the committee has two weeks to report back to the whole house.
He said the meeting afforded them opportunity to thrash out all the issues in dispute, adding that his ministry has apprehended the dispute.
In attendance at the meeting were the Minister of State, Power, Prince Jeddy Agba, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ms. Daju Kachollom, Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz and the Chairman of TCN Board , Imamuddeen Talba.
Also represented were the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) and Office of the Head of Service of the Federation.