Nigeria’s electricity workers threaten total blackout

15 August 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – NIGERIA’s electricity workers say they will plunge the nation into total darkness if the meeting between the government and organised labour today (Wednesday) in Abuja fail to resolve contentious issues regarding the privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.

The issues specifically concern the payment package of of PHCN workers penciled down for privatisation and the continued occupation of PHCN offices by soldiers on the orders of the Federal Government.

Issuing the threat in Benin Tuesday shortly after a meeting of the members of the union, Zonal Organising Secretary 1 of National Union of
Electricity Employees (NUEE), Edo/Delta Zone, Comrade Joseph Ndem, told journalsists that the electricity workers were prepared to withdraw their services should the intervention by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, fail.

Ndem urged Nigerians to see with electricity workers on the reason for their decision to embark on strike and maintained that the government through the Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, was short-changing them on their entitlements.

He said the workers were prepared to withdraw their services from the PHCN if all their entitlements are paid to them, adding, “We will not stay a day longer in the establishment.”

Ndem stated that though electricity workers have conceeded to the government in several areas with the aim of resolving the current crisis, the Minister of Power has been trying to ensure that the workers are deprived of their entitlements by misadvising the government.

Commenting on the deduction of the seven-and-a-half per cent pension from the workers, he said: “In the past, we had a compact system that you hardly discovered fraud in terms of pension deductions. The 25 per cent that was taken from the salary, the record is there and that is always accounted for.

“That is why we also keyed into the investigation of the 25 per cent account and how the money could not be found, and that is why they have now decided to pay us 15 per cent when the minister said so.

“We are happy that the committee has commenced sitting today and the first persons that would testify are the unionists,” he said.
Ndem decried as laughable the story credited to the minister that electricity workers did not deserve the payment of their gratuity, saying that workers wherever they have worked are entitled to their gratuities.

About the Author

  • Nigeria’s electricity workers must note that we have lived without electricity supply from the public power utility company longer than most of us care to remember. Essentially, we are saying that this threat is an idle one. We advise electricity workers and their leadership to enter into dialogue with government and try to make the best of an already bad situation. While they enjoy some measure of public sympathy, threatening a total blackout would erode whatever sympathy they currently enjoy in the court of public opinion.

  • akintmooney

    Prof Barth Nnaji has promised President Jonathan that he would privatise PHCN with minimal cost to the Fed Govt.Nobody is against privatisation but Govt should ensure that PHCN workers are not shortchanged in the process.Such a precedence has already been witnessed with the way Govt treated NITEL workers.People who have used the whole of their lives in the service of their fatherland deserve to be paid their due & fair entitlements.President Jonathan should have the fear of God!

  • It is true

  • If una like make una shut down una life cos i see u people as ghost workers no electricity in my area before and i have 2 generators.if una go off but my gen nor go off

  • Is true ooo.bcos w no get lite since morning

  • Pls phcn dont shout down do 4 the seek of pple

  • Na who care,na whn dem dey work we dey get lit, na still darkness dem dey give us,,so I dey encourage dem not to liv any stone unturned so as to go 4 d strike,,mumu workers

  • The FG & d labour union should negotiate thru d principle of collective bargaining 2 avoid d collapse of d economy.