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Kaduna Electric Staff Protest Over Unjust Treatment, Embark On Indefinite Strike

The placards-carrying aggrieved members of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), blocked the entrance to the headquarters of the company in the Kaduna State capital.


The protesters accused Kaduna Electric of negligence.

 

Staff members of the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company have started an indefinite strike following a protest over unjust treatment and other pending industrial disputes with the management of the company.

When Channels Television visited the scene of the protest on Tuesday morning, the placards-carrying aggrieved members of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), blocked the entrance to the headquarters of the company in the Kaduna State capital, preventing other staff members and customers from gaining access to the premises.

Among their grievances, Channels Television learnt was a demand for six years’ unremitted pension, non-payment of the death benefit of deceased staff members of the company, non-payment of exit package, unjust disengagement of seven staff of the company in Zaria, lack of enabler to help workers perform their duties, as well as an alleged plan to sack over 1,000 workers of the company.

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Speaking during the protest, the Organising Secretary, North West, NUEE, Ayuba Pukat, said: “We are out here to exercise our right as workers of Kaduna Electric because of so many issues on the ground which have to do with our staff welfare. The pension deducted from our staff was not remitted for over 72 months, and staff are still working. If you go to your pension managers, they will tell you your company did not remit. This is a criminal offence, and the licence of Kaduna Electric should be seized. This means that staff are being paid half their salaries yet the rest is not being remitted to their pension managers.

“Again, some Zaria staff’s employments were unlawfully terminated last year as a result of malfunctioning of the power equipment in Zaria, leading to the electrocution of 14 residents in Southern Zaria. The staff were asked to leave without a fair hearing. We are here to express our dissatisfaction to the management staff regarding our welfare.

“We don’t have enough equipment to work, yet we keep getting threats upon threats. They also employed MOPOL to send us out from the premises as we protest, but we won’t leave here until we have registered our grouse,” he said.

The Head of Corporate Communications, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, Abdulazeez Abdullahi, described the strike by NUEE as uncalled for and injurious to the health of the company, stating that the management had already engaged the union leaders, intending to resolve all pending industrial issues.

He appealed to the workers to reconsider their stand and suspend the strike for all business activities to return to as they were.

“We woke up this morning to the news that members of NUEE have locked up our offices. We were shocked because there was no need for it. We have a quarterly meeting scheduled for Wednesday. They have told us about the pension remittances, and there is a plan to settle the backlogs.

“We have a new MD, and he needs time to settle down and then plan on how to gradually offset the historical liabilities. But they chose to do this and have stopped staff and customers from coming in. This is illegal, and we think this is unnecessary. We know the company is not in a good place right now, but the new MD has promised to turn the company. We need all hands to be on deck so that we can forge a way forward for the company,” he said.