14 September 2013, Sweetcrude, Lagos – National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, is not taking a recent call by the Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission, NERC, for the disengagement of staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, headquarters, Abuja.
The organized labour in the Power Industry, said it is irked by this seeming callous act and demand for retraction of the NERC chairman to avoid the wrath of workers.
NUEE in a statement argued that it had observed that in recent times, NERC had abandoned its regulatory functions to be dishing out anti-people policies including the recent increased electricity tariff to compound the hardship Nigerians were going through in the midst of erratic in power supply.
The union contended that the Power Sector Reform Act 2005 that established NERC did not give it the functions and powers to recommend the stoppage of payments and disengagement of PHCN employees.
The union a response to the NERC’s memo to the Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, its General Secretary, Comrade Joe Ajaero implored NERC to focus on its roles of monitoring and regulating the electricity industry rather than inflammatory utterances of disengagement of gainfully employed workers.
According to the union “We have noted with dismay your call for the disengagement from their legitimate employment, members of staff of PHCN. One then wonders why you should be at the Vanguard for the advocacy of disengagement of workers already gainfully employed.
“By this act, you have transformed overnight to being the enemy of the working class who hitherto had been impoverished even with the meager income they receive. NERC is equally operating contrary to the policy of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s administration which has employment generation as one of its cardinal objectives. NERC has equally advocated for increase in tariff which the poor masses may find very excruciating to bear.
“Besides, the atrocious submission against the poor and vulnerable Nigerians; the staff of PHCN have not been paid off as there are unresolved issues agitating their minds which include haphazard implementation of payments of terminal benefits, non-payment of their pension into Retirement saving Accounts, non-payment of gratuity to retirees who disengaged since 2011 among other issues.
“From the foregoing and your declaration of war against the poor, you may wish to explain to us why Nigerians and the workers of PHCN should continue to trust your credibility. Apart from the afore-stated, the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005 that established NERC does not confer on you the functions and Powers to recommend the stoppage of payments and disengagement of PHCN staff. We are undoubtedly irked by this seeming callous act and demand for retraction of this memo and advice that you should concentrate on your assigned roles”.