Each PHCN worker was given his or her own copy of the letter, advising him or her on the retirement benefits, ahead of the expected privatisation of 17 out of the 18 PHCN successor companies.
The letters, specifically, spell out workers’ pension and gratuity, among other benefits.
The Ministry of Power said in a statement on Wednesday that the development was in line with the government’s privatisation plan.
The statement from Mr. Ogbuagu Anikwe, Special Adviser to the Minister of Power on Media, said each letter was personally signed by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, PHCN, Mr. Hussein Labo.
It said, “The management of the PHCN this morning (Wednesday) began distributing letters to each PHCN staff member, advising him or her on the retirement benefits, in view of the impending privatisation of 17 out of the 18 PHCN successor companies.
“The workers were to study the contents of every form and look out for critical issues like possible computational errors and then return them not later than August 10, 2012, with appropriate remarks to the PHCN management.”
According to the ministry, the computations showed that some PHCN executives would get as much as N38 million as retirement benefit.
This figure, the ministry maintained, contrasted sharply with the N2 million, which some union officials had claimed would be the maximum amount any PHCN employee would receive on retirement.
It further stated that the entire severance benefit, calculated at N80 billion, would come from the government treasury.
The ministry said this was so because PHCN management failed to comply with the Pension Reform Act, which came into force on July 1, 2004, and which required every worker to contribute 7.5 per cent of his or her basic salary towards pension.
But, the ministry has noted that the leadership of the National Union of Electricity Employees prevented some workers of the power firm from accepting the letters.
“With letters of advice on retirement benefits now being distributed to each of the employees of the 17 PHCN successor companies and any Transmission Company of Nigeria staff members opting to retire now, the NUEE leadership has used force to prevent the employees from receiving the letters and knowing their true contents,” the ministry said.