A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Soldiers take over PHCN Headquarters

*Workers down tools

Victor Ahiuma-Young &
Demola Akinyemi

21 July 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA -WORKERS of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, Friday downed tools to protest soldiers seizure of the corporate headquarters of the company in Abuja, as the logjam between the Federal Government and workers over severance and gratuity benefits ahead of the privatisation of PHCN deepened.

Union leaders have directed workers of PHCN in Ilorin to vacate their offices, go home and await further directive following the sale of the company to private investors in the country.

It will be recalled that while labour said last month meeting with government ended in deadlock without agreement, the government on the other hand, said it had finished discussions with labour.

It was gathered that the withdrawal of service was a spontaneous reaction to government decision to draft armed soldiers to take over the corporate headquarters of PHCN when labour issues concerning the planned privatisation of PHCN were yet to be resolved.

Though officials of the two unions; the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, and Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, said members were not on strike, but reports across PHCN stations showed that the workers were on strike.

In many parts of Lagos where reports of faults were made to PHCN stations, consumers were politely told that they were protesting soldiers take over of their head office.

Meanwhile, it was gathered that the House Committee on Power was making frantic efforts to bring the government and Labour back to the negotiating table to save the country the looming crisis in the power sector.

PHCN sale: Labour leaders direct staff in Ilorin to go home
Union leaders have directed workers of PHCN in Ilorin to vacate their offices, go home and await further directive following the sale of the company to private investors in the country.

It was gathered that the directive was to avoid embarrassment of the staff from the new buyers.
Staff of the company were seen at Baboko and Challenge district stations milling around the office aimlessly and unsure of future development. Some of the staff who spoke on condition of anonymity said they had not received any letter to any effect, saying they heard the media report and decided to close the offices.

Consequently,district offices of the company have been put under lock and key in Kwara state.
The staff also debunked speculations that all staff of the electricity company had been laid off by the new owners, as some of them even said the letters they received recently was about promotional interview scheduled for Monday next week.

Efforts to speak with the labour leaders as at the press time proved abortive as they could not be reached for comment.

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  • The workers can explore the industrial arbitration courts for interpretation of employers liabilities to employees.

  • Alot of money has gone down the drain in the power sector in Nigeria and yet there is notin to write about it. Its a pity that pravatisin the sector many people wil lose their jobs but that’s the only way the sector can be effective.