Nigeria: Nationwide Blackout Looms As Electricity Workers Commence Strike

11 December 2019

Following the expiration of the 21 days ultimatum issued by the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) to the Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, to implement their demands, and the failure of the minister to dialogue with the union before the ultimatum which lapsed midnight Tuesday, a nationwide blackout is imminent as electricity workers begin indefinite strike Wednesday morning.

According to the Union's Assistant Secretary General, Anthony Sule, in a statement issued in Jos, the Plateau State capital, as obtained by THISDAY, the union had no option but to commence an indefinite strike since the Minister couldn't dialogue with the union before the expiration of the ultimatum.

"The ministry of power has failed to resolve some issues affecting members of the union since 2013 when the power sector was privatised especially issues with the over 2,000 disengaged former PHCN workers and their pay off."

According to him, some of the unresolved issues are illegal transfer of union properties to power investors and the alleged refusal by some distribution companies (DisCos) to remit deducted contributory pension of their members of staff to pension managers.

He added that these issues were contained in a memo to the minister dated November 7, 2019.

THISDAY gathered that other demands of the union includes, unpaid benefits to over 2000 disengaged staff of the defunct Power Holding Company, PHCN, since 2013; underpayment of over 50,000 ex-PHCN staff; payment of half salaries to workers by DISCO's, and unfair labour practices over unresolved labour issues including alleged refusal by some Distribution Companies in Nigeria, DISCOs, to remit deducted contributory pension fund to workers' Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs.

In Lagos, the industrial action has been fully implemented and the gates of business premises of NUEE, across all network are currently placed under lock and access is being denied to all electricity workers.

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