BusinessDay

Nigeria faces blackout as workers shut down transmission stations

Nigerians are groaning again in darkness after the electricity workers under the auspices of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) commenced their strike action over labour dispute with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

In a video seen by BusinessDay, the workers were seen shutting down power station in Abuja as they chanted solidarity songs.

BusinessDay’s findings showed distribution companies, including Ikeja Electric, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, and Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company have all confirmed service disruption via their social media channels.

They blamed the outage on the ongoing industrial conflict between the Nigerian Transmission Company and the electricity workers union.

“The Management of Kaduna Electric wishes to inform its customers that the interruption of supply being experienced in parts of our franchise states (Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto, and Zamfara) is due to the ongoing dispute between the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) the Transmission Company of Nigeria TCN. Supply shall be resolved as contending issues are solved,” a statement by Kaduna electric, one of the 11 distribution companies read.

In a statement on Wednesday via its verified Twitter handle, @IkejaElectric, announced the shutdown of operations.

The statement read partly, “Due to the ongoing nationwide picketing of Transmission Stations by the NUEE, we are currently experiencing disruption of power supply as most stations within our network have been shut down.

Read also: Nigeria’s power grid collapses again, blackout worsens

“Kindly bear with us as we await an amicable resolution by the relevant stakeholders.”

Eko Disco also issued a press statement noting, “National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) is set to embark on an industrial strike at all power stations controlled by Transmission Company”.

“We anticipate that the industrial action, which is set to take place from Wednesday, the 17th of August 2022, if goes as planned may lead to disruption of power supply to electricity consumers across the nation,” Eko Disco said.

According to a statement by Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) on their Twitter handle, the ongoing strike had already caused an interruption of power supply across Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states.

The Enugu electricity distribution company (EEDC) also said in a statement that the blackout affected supply in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states.

NUEE had on August 15 directed its members to picket TCN offices nationwide on August 16, after which they would embark on strike on August 17.

The General Secretary of NUEE, Joe Ajaero, had in a statement said the picketing was to protest the directive by the TCN board that all principal managers in acting capacity going to acting general manager rank must appear for a promotion interview.

Ajaero said the directive was in contravention of the workers’ conditions of service and career progression paths and alleged that it was unilaterally done without the relevant stakeholders.

Other issues raised include stigmatisation of staff from the office of the Head of Service of the Federation from working in other areas in the power sector, and non-payment of December 2019 entitlement of ex-PHCN staff.

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