12 November 2013, Lagos – The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has petitioned the federal government over the alleged sacked of almost all the union officials and casualisation of jobs in the power sector in the wake of the privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
In the petition sent through the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, the union urged the government to intervene in order to ensure the reversal of the perceived anti-labour policy or risked industrial action without notice.
In the petition by NUEE’s General Secretary, Joe Ajaero, the union described the mass disengagement carried out by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) as an act of victimisation, stating that it was a clear contravention of labour law and the agreement previously entered into in the sector.
It added that what was playing out might not be in the best interest of the power sector, adding that it was quite sordid to think of a new brand of labour issue creeping in at a period investors were taking over the running of the sector.
The petition, a copy of which was made available to THISDAY, reads: “We write to bring to your notice the deliberate act of victimisation carried out by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) allegedly acting on behalf of the federal government. Available records, has it that almost all serving union officials have been ‘weeded’ from service. This “weeding” which cuts across our various organs: central executive council, state councils and chapters to state the least, is a clear contravention of all known labour legislations and agreement previously entered into in the sector.
“What is playing out may not be in the best interest of the power sector and electric power development of the nation as it is quite sordid to think of a new brand of labour issue creeping in at this transitional test period of investors’ takeover. Without mincing words, we ask for the reversal of this trend or we would be forced to react without further notice. Besides, we wish to remind you that there are outstanding issues which we hope by November 15, 2013 should have been sorted out.
“Similarly, the letters of engagement currently issued in the sector is a clear signal that contract and casual employment has been reintroduced from the backdoor. Should the operators in the sector refuse to correct this new slave labour policy, the union should not be held responsible for any reaction that may arise from this.”
– This Day