Vanguard (Lagos)

7 November 2012

Nigeria: N500 Billion Benefits - Union Dares FG Over PHCN's Privatisation

Jos — National President of Senior Staff Association of Engineers and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, Mr. Bede Opara, has vowed that workers of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, would resist any take-over of the company under the privatisation programme unless their N500 billion entitlements were fully settled.

He stated this at a Stakeholders Forum organised by the North-East Zone of SSAEAC and the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, in Jos stressing that privatisation would only take off when workers' entitlements had been fully settled by the Federal Government.

He said: "We will prevent anybody who dares to enter PHCN premises without first settling all of labour outstanding matters."

Opara decried what he called "injustice" and Federal Government's nonchalant attitude to PHCN workers adding, "government claims that our monetary entitlements are too big to pay. But let me ask, is it not what we have worked for? Is it not our benefits and our sweat?"

NUEE National Secretary, who is also the Acting President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Mr. Joe Ajero, said there was need for cooperation and solidarity among members so that pension, instead of pay-off, would be paid.

He said: "If you go with the principles of pay-off, there is likely to be a lot of casualties. Rather, let us emphasise and pursue pension funds along other benefits accruing to our members."

He urged his colleagues to rise up against privatisation, noting that "out of the 145 companies overtaken by the tsunami of privatisation, none has survived."

Ajaero wondered why government was bent on selling off PHCN, which generates an annual revenue of N300 billion for just N200 billion naira in the name of privatisation.

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