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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Nationwide Blackout Looms As Electricity Workers Threaten Strike

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The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) yesterday alerted the federal government of plans to cripple operations in the power sector over alleged unfair labour practices by operators.

The union in a statement listed some of its grievances to include de-unionisation and casualisation of workers, under-payment of workers remunerations, retrenchment of union leaders and continued manipulation associated with increase in fixed tariff.

NUEE, in a statement by its Secretary, Joe Ajaero decried the non-payment of entitlements of disengaged staff, stressing that the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) had been misinforming the public on alleged payment of terminal benefits of the defunct PHCN employees.

“BPE has been fielding Nigerians with lies that they have finished paying workers in the Power sector, whereas, the BPE, Ministry of Power and the Accountant General of the Federation are unable to explain the whereabouts of over N100 billion meant for the payment of the workers entitlements,” the union stated.

It further noted that the 10 per cent equity shareholding for workers as collectively agreed had been jettisoned by government.

According to the union, the issue of biometric of workers had been a broad day racket as the consultant engaged for this purpose had continued to use endless biometric exercise to siphon the finances of the sector.”

It lamented that most of the disengaged workers are yet to collect their entitlement since November 2013.

“We are constrained to inform the general public of the anti-workers stance of some of the new Investors who took over the privatized units of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). The anti-union activities of these new investors have been a source of concern to the Union and other progressive Nigerians. Given that workers and Nigerians at large are badly affected by these illicit actions, some of which are listed below, we have decided to engage them with the aim of restoring normalcy in the system sector.

“We therefore consider it highly imperative to inform Nigerians that picketing of these companies will commence any moment from now. We hereby solicit the understanding of the general public towards arresting this act of unpatriotic and second slavery of Nigerians by these new companies,” the statement added.

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