PHCN workers spoil for war, mobilise for industrial action

The labour union in the power sector at the weekend faulted the Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo’s claim that 70 per cent of staff members had been paid exit package.

The workers have since begun massive mobilisation of employees of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, to stop the Federal Government planned handover of the corporation assets to private investors without full payment of their terminal benefits.

Vice President (Professionals), National Union of Electricity Employees, (NUEE), Gabriel Egbadekwu who said this in Lagos, alleged that government has commenced “clandestine” moves to hand over PHCN facilities to successor companies on paper without resolving the labour issues in the sector.

He hinted that mobilisation of members is ongoing warning, noting that the union will react at the appropriate time.

Egbadekwu expressed regret that less than 50 per cent of PHCN workers had so far received part of their exit benefits while others are yet to receive anything.

He warned that any move by government to handover the companies to the intended investors without the full payment of workers benefits would be resisted by the union.

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He said: “We have been irked by the claim of the minister of power that 70 per cent of PHCN staff members have been paid their exit package. Information reaching us revealed that the minister has commenced clandestine moves to hand over PHCN facilities or so called successor companies to investors. We want to state categorically clear here that the claim of the minister is false and is done to miss-inform the public.

“We are well aware that less than 50 percent of PHCN workers have so far received part of their exit benefits while others are yet to receive anything. Furthermore, we want Nigerians of all shades of opinion be informed that claims made by the minister exhibits total insincerity and falsehood concocted to blackmail the Union. In this regard, any move by Government to handover the companies to the intended investors will be resisted by the workers, unless all payments (to the last kobo) and other issues are fully resolved.”

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“The Public should know that before now, agreements have been reached with government on issues and how the process to resolve them should be implemented, starting from June, 2012. However, government has been unwilling or reluctant to drive the process according to agreements reached. Each time, the Union has to react to get government on course and this has not deterred her from implementing the agreement haphazardly.

At this stage of implementation, we are amazed at the level of confusion within the industry as to the seriousness of government at driving the process to a logical conclusion for the benefit of Nigerians, investors and the workers.”

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