Electricity workers accuse govt of failing to implement agreements

Okey Ndiribe

14 April 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – WORKERS unions in Nigeria’s electricity sector, Friday, in Abuja accused the Federal Government of failing to fully implement agreements reached by both sides during past negotiations.

This accusation was made by Comrade Bede Okpara, the President of Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) and Comrade Joe Ajaero, General Secretary of National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) during their remarks at a reconciliatory meeting between the Federal Ministry of Power and workers unions in the electricity sector organised by the Minister of Labour Chief Chukwuemeka Wogu.

Citing reasons why NUEE threatened to embark on strike, Ajaero further alleged that the Federal Ministry of Power was running the ministry on the pages of newspapers.

He further alleged that whereas the cut-off date for listing of casual workers qualified for regularisation was December 2009, “a certain Minister unilaterally introduced some strange names into the list by December 2011.”

He further alleged that some workers including senior staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) are being owed salaries for months on the ground that their status hadn’t been verified.

He condemned the sack of some management staff at the headquarters of PHCN, adding that the Ministry’s action did not follow due process since those sacked were career civil servants who were employed in line with public service conditions of service.

Earlier in his own remarks at the occasion, Comrade Okpara had stated that recent actions of the Ministry of Power were a violation of an aspect of a past agreement which stipulated that nothing should be done by any of the parties to jeopardise the negotiation while both parties were still holding dialogue on the issue of workers entitlements pending privatization of PHCN.

According to him: “On the issue of salary increase, despite the fact that we had to bend over backwards and accept a 50 percent increase rather than the 137 we demanded at the beginning, even that 50 percent is being paid piecemeal and has not been completed until now”.

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