By Gbenga Olarinoye
Electricity workers in the country have vowed to go ahead with the Monday planned strike nationwide to press home their demands except the Federal Government intervenes to save the nation from total blackout.
It was also gathered that the Federal Government’s delegation yesterday met with the officials of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE,Â in a bid to resolve the problems. Though details of the meeting between the two parties were not known as at the time of going to press. It was however, gathered that, the union leaders were not ready to shift their ground.
The union leaders told Vanguard that the strike would be total as â€œwe are not dogs that only bark but do not bite, we will show to the world that we can bark and bite.â€
According to the union, none of the 15 private companies licensed by the Federal Government to generate power has added one mega watt to the power generation in the country.
The union also accused those who were given licences to generate power independently of only showing interest in buying the old power stations owned by the Federal Government instead of building new ones.
The electricity workers who have threatened to go on a strike from Monday told newsmen in Osogbo yesterday that there was nowhere in the whole world where the kind of reforms embarked upon by the Federal Government had added one watt to electricity generation.
Spokespersons for the union, Comrades Zacheous Kayode Adu, Vice President (Professional) and Agyake Anthony zonal Organising Secretary who were in Osogbo to sensitize workers for the nationwide strike highlighted some of the issues that were negatively affecting workers in the industry.
According to the union leaders, the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) workers are yet to enjoy monetization arrears paid to public servants since 2003.
Another major problem which the workers accused the management of the company of overlooking was the casualisation of 10,000 workers in the sector who earn a paltry N5,000 monthly as salaries.
The union leaders also said that the payment of balance of 150 percent salary owed the work force arising from a negotiation since April 2009 was yet to be met.
â€œPremised on the foregoing, the two in house unions met and issue a 21 day ultimatum to PHCN management demanding immediate solution to these problems. As stakeholders in the industry, we should not fold our arms and watch our only means of livelihood which we have laboured all through the years to build collapse because ownership of the state owned utilities are transferred to an all inspiring private sector.
The electricity workers remain resolute towards the fight for our right and nothing short of fulfilling all the demands within this stipulated time will hinder us from taking our destinies in our hands,â€ the union added.