PHCN Handover: Workers Gear Up For Industrial Action

The Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, workers are gearing up for a nationwide strike to prevent the planned Federal Government handover on the grounds that their terminal entitlements have not been fully paid.

The National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, has directed its members to withdraw their services from all installations in the event of provocation by armed military personnel.

A statement signed by the Secretary-General of the union, Mr. Joe Ajaero, said the plan of the Federal Government to hand over the power assets negated the agreement it reached with the union to resolve all outstanding labour issues.

Mr Ajaero insisted that the gratuity payment was only 68% completed and that no member of the union has had their pension contributions transferred into their retirement savings accounts.

He said, “those that retired from service since 2011 have not received their benefits totaling about 19billion Naira.  The differences of the shortfall of the terminal benefits from June 30, 2012 till date have not been considered for payment.

The statement further said “the question of 10% equity shareholding (in the companies) by the workers as statutorily provided has not been given attention”.

“While we appreciate and sympathise with the core investors, we ask for their understanding and that of the Nigerian public in our pursuit to ensure a seamless transition. We are resolute on receiving every kobo owed us, as we are sure such liabilities will not be borne by the new investors.”

It will be recalled that the Federal Government had earlier declared that it would go ahead with the physical hand over of the company’s assets to the new owners as scheduled on November the 1st, as announced by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry Of Power, Mr Godknows Igali, after a meeting with Vice President Namadi Sambo, on the power privatisation process.

PHCN pledges to resolve retiree’s pension soon

The Managing Director of the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Ltd. (NELML), Samuel Agbogun has said PHCN Workers’ Pension will be fully resolved once the talk between the workers’ union and federal government is concluded.

Doctor Agbogun said the federal government has budgeted N17 billion for the resolution of issues in the PHCN out of which 12 billion is for payment of pensioners, while N6 billion has already been released and with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

At a news conference in Abuja, the president of the electricity sector of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Temple Ubani confirmed that August pensions have already been paid to majority of pensioners under the old pension scheme and plans are underway to settle the remaining.

The NELML was set up solely for the management of the electricity pension and liability.

The mandate of the company is to resolve issues of liabilities of the company which is estimated at over N263 billion including N5 billion accumulated gratuity and pensions.

Part of the short and long term considerations for a permanent resolution of the pension issues in the PHCN is conducting a biometric verification of all staff and pensioners of the company and migration to the pensions to the head of service pension scheme or a pension administrator.

These will ensure that the budgeted sum is judiciously applied.

Other issues that are being considered by the electricity liability management limited are the reconciliation of assets and proceeds from sales of non-core assets, offsetting of liabilities and loans especially foreign and independent power producers among others.

But first, the liability management company says the impasse between the union and government must be resolved so that real work towards a lasting resolution can begin.