• Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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Power supply threatened as labour set for protest Tuesday

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The epileptic power supply being currently experienced nationwide may worsen as electricity workers under the aegis of National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) on Thursday issued a protest notice from Tuesday, January 14, over unpaid severance package and allowances to disengaged workers of the privatised Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

Joe Ajaero, the general secretary of NUEE, at a news conference in Lagos, said none of the disengaged workers of the defunct PHCN and over 1,000 retirees have been fully paid their entitlements.

He said the workers having waited for three months without any positive re sponse from the government are set to paralyse the sector throughout the country.

He said the management of the successor companies have also acted contrary to the provision of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) that management of any public company privatised must work with the staff inherited for six months to test their competency before relieving them of their duties.

He decried that in the case of PHCN successor companies, the management started sacking the workers from day one of taking physical possession of the companies in contravention with the law.

Continuing, he said, “The pension deductions of about 48,000 workers between July 2012 and to date have not been effected. The entitlements of over 48,000 staff covering July 2012 have not been paid. Over 50 percent of the workers have been wrongly and illegally disengaged. About 3,000 verified casual staff have been verbally sent out of the industry withpowerout remuneration.

“Workers’ rights are flagrantly abused with impunity, deduction of union dues without remittance have become the norm. Diversion of money meant for productivity bonus, leave grant, and bulk rent have also become the order of the day.

“Introduction of casual/contract appointment seemed to have been institutionalised in the sector. Employees are now verbally dismissed from service.

“Non-payment of staff salaries for two months running have just been introduced into the power sector. Fund meant for payment of staff entitlement in excess of N100 billion have developed wings, as the BPE, Ministry of Power and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation are unable to explain the whereabouts of this money. Ten percent equity shareholding for workers as collectively agreed has been jettisoned. Salaries & wages of employees have been unilaterally reduced.”

According to Ajaero, if after Tuesday protest all the grievances were not addressed, the union would declare a full blown industrial action.

He recalled that on December 20, 2013, the union issued a 14-day ultimatum to government to address series of human and trade union rights abuses in the sector including non-payment of terminal benefits to defunct PHCN workers.