Mkpoikana Udoma 01 May 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The picketing of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHEDC, offices and power stations embarked upon by the newly formed labour union, ULC, has been suspended for dialogue.
The national body of the ULC led by Mr. Joe Ajaero had last week began the blocking of the headoffice of PHEDC and some of its power states in protest against outrageous bills, delay in provision of meters, poor customer service.
The picketing which was frontlined by the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, an affiliate of ULC, particularly mentioned the failure of the management of PHED to allow its workers to unionise as well as alleged rejection of energy allocated to the distribution company from the national grid.
When contacted, the Spokesperson of the PHEDC, Mr. John Onyi, explained that it took the intervention of the Rivers Stated Commissioner of Police, CP Zaki Ahmed, and the Director of DSS to calm the nerve of the labour union to agree to meet for a dialogue on the 16 of May, 2017.
Asked if the Disco will yield to demands of the labour union, Onyi, who interjected that he wouldn’t want to pre-empt the outcome of the meeting.
He also described the allegation that the company rejects loads from the national grid as laughable and mischievous aimed at whipping up sentiment.
According to him, “They (labour) suspended the picketing on Wednesday, but we are to meet again on 16th of May for further deliberation, all the issues raised by both parties shall be discussed.
“The allegation that we reject loads is laghauble because the installed capacity of PHED is 784MW but what we receive from the national grid ranges from 150-274MW, so where is the logical reasoning that we reject loads from TCN? We can only reject loads when what we are receiving is above our installed capacity,” Onyi said.
Meanwhile efforts to reach the Rivers State Chairman of the United Labour Congress, Mr. Charles Eleto, has proved abortive, as calls and text messages sent to his phone were not replied.