FG debunks claim of retrenching electricity workers without gratuity

Channels Television  
Updated July 20, 2012

The ministry of power has responded to the allegations of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) of federal government’s intentions to kick them out of the system without gratuity.

A statement signed by the special adviser to the Minister of Power, Anikwe Ogbuagu states that “a hand full of workers has in the last three days used all manner of force to prevent conscientious and law-abiding TCN employees from not only carrying out their legitimate duties but even gaining access to their offices. These misguided workers who are purportedly acting under the auspices of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) allege that security forces have been unleashed on them, that the TCN has been privatized and consequently handed over to Manitoba International to retrench the company’s entire workforce without their severance benefits being paid.

Mister Ogbuagu described the allegations as false and that security has since September, 2011, been enhanced at all PHCN installations and facilities across the nation because of the obvious security challenges in some parts of the country.

The statement attempts to clarify that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has not been privatized, and will not be privatized. Since the enactment of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act in 2005, the Federal Government has always made it clear that the TCN will not be privatized, but rather managed by a company with a requisite record in this field.

Furthermore Manitoba International is coming with only eight expatriate workers. The Nigerian employees of the TCN, including the top management staff, will not leave their current positions but will stay on as deputies and “shadows” to understudy the new managers and all gratuity payments will be made.

Meanwhile the Nigeria Labor Congress has also reacted to this issue in a statement calling for more dialogue between the Federal Government and the NUEE instead of this show of force.