23 January 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS — Nigeria’s Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) weekend threatened to down tools and begin an indefinite strike if the purported mass deployment of its members in Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) by the Minister of Power Professor Barth Nnaji was not suspended immediately until all labour issues were resolved.
President of SSAEAC, Comrade Bede Opara who spoke in Lagos, said that organised labour would resist any mass disengagement of the workers by PHCN and said the associations had written to the Minister on the need to follow due process to avoid industrial unrest.
He said: “We brought to the knowledge of Professor Nnaji the fact that before his appointment as minister, President Goodluck Jonathan had appointed a Negotiator/Conciliator to look into and resolve the labour issues in the power sector, before the planned reforms.”
“We draw his attention to the outcomes of 1st and 2nd meetings chaired by the same Negotiator/Conciliator at Abuja and Ghana wherein it was explicitly stated that no action prejudicial to the final outcome of the negotiations should be undertaken by any side. Consequently Nnaji’s earlier memo to PHCN management and BPE to the effect that promotions are suspended was withdrawn to pave way for the negotiations.”
Similarly, SSAEAC in a petition through General Secretary, Comrade Abiodun Ogunsegan, to management of PHCN and the Minister of Power demanded explanations from the Minister reasons for the mass deployment and the modalities for the transfer since there were no vacancies in the companies these staff were sent to.
The petition said: “We demand explanation from the Minister of Power, professor Nnaji on why the sudden plan by Government to wind down the corporate headquarter of PHCN and deploy all the staff therein to successor companies like Discos, Transyco, Neimco, Bulk purchaser, NERC and Naptin when the arrears formally reached on 50% of salary increase and regularization of casuals, even when the much talked about audit and verification exercise had long be completed and the workers not settled”
“The President General and Deputy President (North) are in Abuja to hand deliver our correspondences and meet with other agencies of Government to prevail on the Minister, “without which, the leadership of the association will have no choice than to take necessary industrial action.”