Plight of PHCN staff: TUC, MWUN ask Jonathan to intervene

PHCN-PROTESTERSEluonye Konyegwuaehi

01 December 2013, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The TRADE Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to personally intervene in the plight of thousands of sacked workers of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, who have not been paid their terminal benefits.

Report has it that no fewer than seven thousand workers of the defunct PHCN have not been paid a kobo, while 30,000 of them were paid only part of their severance benefits.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government through the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) on November 1, handed over the assets of PHCN to new owners, while three days later over 30,000 of the workers were issued sack letters dated October 21, 2013.

Contrary to the agreement reached between Labour and Government on October 31, that no worker would be disengaged without full payment of his or her terminal benefit, at least, it has been uncovered that no fewer than 7000 were disengaged without receiving a kobo.

In the same vein, contrary to the extant labour law, few thousands that were re-engaged were employed on six months contract (casuals).

Decrying the action of BPE, President of TUC, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama, said “ We further implore the President to intervene to put an end to the plight of thousands of power sector workers who have not been paid their terminal benefits under the previous managements of the original successor-companies to the PHCN.”

Corroborating the submissions of Comrade Kaigama, President-General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, Comrade Anthony Emmanuel Nted, recalled that the same plight befell workers in the Maritime sector especially Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, while wondering why the Federal Government would treat its citizens as slaves.

According to him, “it is very sad that the federal government would sack its employees that served for years without paying their terminal benefits as agreed with organized labour. What sort of message is the government sending to other employers? It is unacceptable and condemnable. We call on President Jonathan to wade into this national embarrassment. How do they expect these workers to go on with their lives or do they want them to take to crime? The same thing was done during the Ports reforms and concession. This is pure wickedness that must not be allowed to continue. We are not living in a jungle.”

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