Electricity workers threaten indefinite strike over sacked PHCN executives

Victor Ahiuma-Young

05 April 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS - Following the compulsory retirement of three top executives of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, by the Minister of Power, Prof Barth Nnaji, leaders of the National Union of Electricity, NUEE, and Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, have accused the Minister of pursuing personal agenda in the ministry.

The workers have also threatened to embark on an indefinite strike if the federal government fail to meet their demands.

At a joint briefing in Lagos, Thursday, the two unions said the three executives of the PHCN sacked by Nnaji earlier in the week, had nothing to do with power generation in the country as claimed by the minister.

Speaking on behalf of the labour leaders, General Secretary of SSAEAC, Mr. Abiodun Ogunsegha, said, “we have observed with dismay the obstinate posture of the Power Minister in tackling the challenges and the labour related issues in the Power Sector Reforms which absolutely has been counterproductive.”

The unions however, called for immediate recall and reinstatement of the sacked executives as they were career personnel who were not interested in the personal agenda which the minister was pursuing.

“We maintain and demand that, he minister should rescind his decisions of the transfer of the LPC of the affected members of staff, stop the winding down of PHCN corporate headquarters until all labour issues are resolved and also reinstate the three estranged executive,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Labour leaders in the Ministry of Power have directed workers in the sector to down tools and begin an indefinite strike from Wednesday next week.

The strike was to protest the alleged inability of the government to fulfill its part of agreement reached with the labour union in the power sector.

It will be recalled that the three unions in the sector; NUEE, SSAEAC and the National Union of Pensioners, NUP, Electricity sector, had in a petition to the Federal Government itemized the agreements allegedly breached and handed a March 31, deadline for government to address their grievances or risk industrial action.

If the strike goes ahead as threatened, it will come a week before the April 16 scheduled resumption of negotiation between government and the unions over labour issues, including the planned privatization of PHCN.

  • Philips oladele

    Strike is never the solution. Pls go back to d negotiation table and see what we come out of it.

  • Benny Alli

    As a Nigerian who have to spend some money powering my generator, I am a keen follower of the ongoing issue in the power sector. I have followed policies of past government on power and convinced that the direction of Prof BArt Nnaji in sorting out the power issue in this country is the right now. For the first time in a long time in this sector, we have someone who is a technocrat and not afraid to do the right thing. His no nonsense approach to ineptitude and inefficiency should be applauded. it gives me hope that we are on the right track.

    Labour will always protect its own so am not shocked by its decision to defend the retired guys. It is no secret that labour is opposed to the privatization of the power sector and dont care about gains the privatization of generation and distribution of that sector will bring to Nigerians.

    The government has been running power for too long with no sustained result because of saboteurs and staff with the ” government work no be my papa work” attitude. Staff who have not been given proper training or sent on refreshers for a long time and those who dont care if the system runs efficiently. I am not denying that there are many staff within the system who break their backs to ensure it runs well but we all know that government all over the world leaves the issue of power generation and distribution in the hand of the private sectors who run it well. why will the Nigerian situation be different?

    Privatizing the industry will be the best move by government in giving us a workable solution to the power problem. Hard working staff of PHCN need not be afraid because the new owners need them to keep the system running. Infact, i suspect that they will be better paid, better trained and well equipped to deal with the power issue. Only lazy staff who have nothing to offer need quake in their bones.

    We all saw what happened to NITEL and how the MTNS and GLOS of this world are succeeding where NITEL failed. It is no longer business as usual and am sure alot of people are not happy about it