Nigeria: Electricity Workers Issue Fresh 14-Day Strike Ultimatum to Govt

29 January 2020

Lagos — The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) on Wednesday gave the Federal Government a 14-day strike ultimatum sequel to the non-implementation of agreement reached with the Minister of State for Power, Goddy Agba.

Speaking in Lagos, NUEE General Secretary, Joe Ajaero, described the action of the minister as unfair and unacceptable and therefore demands an apology to the union.

Ajaero said instead of the minister to implement the agreement reached on December 11, 2019, he resorted to grandstanding, harassment, intimidation, banging of table and eventually walked out on the union at the resumed sitting to review the issues.

According to Ajaero, the issues raised include non-payment of over 2,000 disengaged Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), 16 months underpayment of severance benefits as well as 7.5 percent pension component.

"We observed that when the first item was raised on update from BPE at the meeting, the BPE boss was absent at the meeting; we then advised that the matter be stepped down for other items to be discussed.

"This infuriated the Honorable Minister of State for Power, who said he took exception to that, threatening that he is in control and competent to discuss on the BPE issue.

"When he was now called upon to provide information and update on the BPE and payment/verification of staff of Ex-PHCN, he could not," Ajaero alleged.

He further said that the union reminded the minister that the BPE reports to the Vice President, and not to the Ministry of Power.

"At that point, he banged the table, stood up and started shouting on top of his voice which attracted security personnel who jumped into the meeting and threatened to beat us up. He quickly announced that the meeting has been suspended and adjourned indefinitely.

"The union stayed back as a display of maturity and retired to the office of the Permanent Secretary, Minister of Power, where another meeting took place between the Union and the Permanent Secretary of Power till 8:30pm on other issues amicably on he same day.

"In view of this un-ministerial behavior of the Minister of State, Power, the union wishes to demand as follows: an unreserved apology from the Minister of State (Power) for humiliation, intimidation, harassment and abuse of privilege, thereby undermining the interest of the workers in the sector.

"That within 14 days, all the issues agreed upon at the meeting on December 11, 2019 should be implemented without further delay.

"If at the end of 14 working days these issues are not addressed, the union will resume its suspended industrial action of December 11, 2019," he added.

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