Electricity employees protest in Abuja, tasks FG to address outstanding power sector labour issues

Posted by News Express | 15 April 2016 | 4,734 times

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The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) on Thursday in Abuja urged the Federal Government to urgently address labour issues relating to the power sector.

The NUEE Senior Assistant General Secretary, Mr Akoh Ndubusi, made the call during a protest at the PHCN headquarters in Abuja.

Ndubusi said the protest was organised to express the union's grievances over plans to forcefully takeover the headquarters complex without addressing outstanding labour issues in the sector.

He said the union would continue to resist the forceful liquidation of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and takeover of the complex until outstanding labour issues were resolved.

These labour issues include non-payment of severance package and gratuity, death benefits of the over 3,000 PHCN staff that were retrenched, non-payment of liabilities inherited from the former PHCN management in the areas of unpaid leave allowances.

Others are bulk rent subsidy for 2013, 13th month pay for 2013, and statement of expenses that arose out of job expenditures before 31st of October 2013, the issue of 10 per cent equity share of workers in the sector and the non-payment of 16 months' severance to PHCN staff.

According to him, the union, during its negotiation, reached an agreement with the Federal Government that “PHCN shall not be liquidated until labour issues arising out of privatisation of the sector were resolved.”

He said that the agreement also included the full payment of benefits to the PHCN staff.

Ndubuisi alleged that on March 18, in a bid to forcefully takeover the PHCN headquarters, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, had directed that some staff should evacuate some of their offices, thereby going against the agreement.

“And yesterday, we were startled over the presence of armed policemen stationed strategically in the premises of PHCN headquarters.

“We became curious over the sudden militarisation of the civil work environment. We inquired why the armed police officers were everywhere in the premises from the MD/CEO of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), where we met some high ranking police officers.

“To our amazement, the officers said they were there based on the report of the permanent secretary of power.”

Ndubuisi said that the union had vowed to continue to resist the forceful liquidation of PHCN and takeover of the complex until outstanding labour issues were resolved.

He noted that the Minister of Power had made efforts to address and resolve the contending labour issues in PHCN amicably.

NAN reports that the inscriptions on the placards read “Federal Government should fulfil all agreements with the power sector”, “Mr President, call the Power sector to order”.

Others were “Every organisation has a labour union, Permanent Secretary cannot change the status now”, “Keep to the original agreement on labour issues in the power sector”. (NAN)

•Photo shows Power Minister Tunde Fashola.

Source: News Express

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