PHOTOS: Electricity Workers Decry Corruption, Demand Review Of Privatisation Process

Some electricity workers holding placards with various inscriptions to protest against the corruption in the sector at a press conference in Abuja on May 11, 2020. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

 

A coalition of unions of electricity workers in Abuja has called for the immediate review of the privatisation process of the sector.

The group comprises members of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies in the nation’s capital.

At a news conference on Monday in Abuja, the workers insisted that the privatisation process was fraudulent.

According to them, this resulted in the poor quality of service experienced in the electricity sector since its privatisation.

The unions decried that contracts within the sector were being awarded to unqualified individuals, without recourse to in-house capacity to address some of the challenges facing the sector.

They, therefore, called on the new management of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to block all the loopholes aiding corruption in the sector.

See more photos below:

A picture of the logo of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) taken in Abuja on May 11, 2020. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Electricity Unions Cannot Use Power Play To Punish The Country, Says Ngige


 

The Minister Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige has condemned the industrial action embarked upon by electricity workers, revealing that it is as a result of a power struggle between the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC).

Dr Ngige who was on Channels Television Lunchtime Politics, said that an investigation by the Labour Ministry showed the level of a power struggle between the unions, and he told them not to do anything unfair that will affect the country.

He added that the effect of the strike action has caused the country billions of Naira and loss of lives.

“My initial investigation as the Minister of Labour is that there is a power-play between NUEE and the Senior Staff Association of Electricity Workers who are domiciled there.

“There is a power struggle on who is senior and who is more potent in terms of effecting unionism and they have carried this on and inflicted the whole country with a power outage that has caused us billions of naira and loss of lives; it is unfair and I have told them not to do that.”

READ ALSO: Exercise Higher Tolerance Before Industrial Actions, Gbajabiamila Tells Electricity Workers

The Labour Minister stated that his ministry will carry out further investigation on the matter and will invoke the relevant labour laws on liable unions.

“The unions are not ‘Omni-Sacrosanct’ that we can’t do anything to them, we will look at the issue and if they are liable, I will invoke the relevant sections of the labour act on that.

“The preliminary investigation shows that there is a power play, and they cannot use power play to punish the entire nation and make us lose man-hours, billions of naira and lose lives in hospitals that their generators are not working.”

On the lingering issues between the unions, the Ministry of Power, Distribution Companies (DisCos) and Generating companies (GenCos), Dr Ngige faulted the processes adopted by electricity workers to embark on the nationwide strike, stressing that respect for the rule of law must be adhered to.

“The rule of law is not for the government alone, it is for the citizens too. There are set laws for people to apply in industrial relations and all are encapsulated in the trade dispute act.

“Before somebody on essential service, of which electricity workers are one, can proceed on industrial action; you must notify your direct employers first and the onus is on them to convene a meeting, they then approach the labour ministry, the labour minister is there, that’s my work and they give the ultimatum and there are special forms called the ‘Trade Dispute forms’ which they fill and lodge in the Ministry; all that was not done.

“They just had issues with their direct employers which are the Ministry of Power, the DisCos which is mostly privatized with the government having just 40 percent while the investors have 60 percent,” he added.

Dr Ngige also revealed that the problems are more with the DisCos and GenCos, and where it concerns the Federal Government is in the aspect of the severance package.

He stated that since the unbundling of the power sector, 400 persons out of the remaining 600 outstanding cases have been captured.

“Some of the problems are in the DisCos, the GenCos and some with the government. The Government side of the problem is where they said that some of the people that were severed when those parastatals were privatized have not been paid off.

“The statistics are there and it is only about 600 persons that their cases are outstanding and out of those, 400 have been captured and sent to the Accountant-General of the Federation because what had happened is that all the monies gathered from the sales of privatization were expended in terms of the severance benefits and other allowances that were due to the workers that had to leave those DisCos and GenCos, so 98 percent of the money went in there.

“Shortfall in salaries is a continuous thing and is being addressed and it’s not even a government thing, it is with the DisCos,” he stressed.

The strike action by electricity workers was called off in the early hours of Thursday after the union had earlier issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Minister of Power for a dialogue to resolve the lingering industrial crisis in the sector.

The workers held a protest on Wednesday, over the non-payment of a severance package for members who were affected by the unbundling of Power Holding Company of Nigeria PHCN into eleven electricity distribution companies (DisCos), six generating companies (GenCos), and a transmission company (TCN).

The workers in blocked main entrance gate and locked out some staff to the Ministry of Power.

Electricity Workers Protest In Abuja

Electricity Workers Protest In Abuja

Members of the National Union of Electricity Workers on Thursday staged a protest at the premises of the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) in Abuja.

The protesters were at the BPE office to demand the payment of severance allowances to staff who were affected by the unbundling of the electricity sector in 2012.

They were forced to a protest because the Federal Government has continued to violate agreed payment modalities reached between the union and the BPE management.

Deputy President (South) of the union, Christian Omendi, said government has failed to fulfil the promises made to them since 2013.

“We have given the BPE a lot of time since 2013 to resolve all outstanding issues and the leadership of the unions has always agreed to any arrangement on ground to see that these issues are resolved and our people stop suffering,” he said.

“But as it stands up till this morning (Thursday), when we came here, it was like we were not hearing any response from the last promises the have made.

“Our coming here is to tell them to give us our alerts, especially our comrades who since 2013, have not seen a dime of their severance.”

Addressing the workers, BPE Director of Electricity and Power, Ibrahim Babagana, assured them that the government was working to address their concerns.

Babagana, who spoke on behalf of the BPE Director-General, promised that the agency would communicate its position on the issue on Friday next week.

Electricity Workers Protest Over Unpaid Severance Packages

Electricity-NUEESome electricity workers under the aegis of NUEE have staged a protest over the non-payment of severance packages of their colleagues by the Transmission Company of Nigeria.

The members of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) on Monday barricaded the gate of the headquarters of the electricity company in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

According to the Senior Assistant General Secretary of NUEE, Cyprian Ndubuisi, at least 3,000 workers of the then Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), who were disengaged before privatisation, have not been paid their severance packages.

The union also barred workers from entering into their offices while they called on the Federal Government to resolve all lingering labour issues concerning their welfare.

Labour Party Sues For Peace Within NLC

LabourThe Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Labour Party, Comrade Salisu Mohammed, has appealed to all those that contested in the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) election, to sheath their swords in order to have a united labour front.

Addressing a news conference  in Abuja on the crisis rocking the NLC in Abuja, Comrade Mohammed said that the party is worried about the division in the labour union over the outcome of the election.

The Chairman of the Labour Party, who denounced the endorsement of any presidential candidate by the Labour Party, added that it was not in the interest of Nigerian workers to have a parallel NLC.

Meanwhile, workers from different unions including; Electricity Workers Union, Nigerian Textile Workers Union and NUPENG are among those opposing the results of the election that declared Ayuba Waba President of the workers’ union.

FG agrees to pay electricity workers accrued pension

The prolonged labour crises between the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and the Federal Government which began since 2010 has finally been resolved as both parties agreed that total accrued pension as at June 30, 2007 shall be paid.

PHCN employees protest over pension

The payment was agreed to be in accordance with the 2010 conditions of service of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

The resolution meeting which took place at the office of the Secretary to the Federal Government agreed that 25 per cent of the accrued pension will be paid to existing PHCN staff while 75 per cent will be paid into the retirement savings accounts.

Other agreements reached were that severance allowance which shall be paid at 20 per cent of total accrued benefits among others.

Present at the meeting were the Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Minister of Labour; Chief Emeka Wogu, Minister of State for Power; Hajiya Zainab Kuchi, President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC); Peter Esele, Secretary General of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) among others.

The Agreement was signed on behalf of the Federal Government by Senator Anyim, while Mr Esele and Ajearo signed on behalf of the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).