By Tony Edike
ENUGUâ€”THE National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, Eastern Zone, has directed its members to stay away from their offices fromÂ May 17, if the Federal Government and the management of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, fail to meet the demands made by the unionÂ regarding their welfare.
Senior Assistant General Secretary of the union in the zone, Mr Cyprian Akoh, who gave the directive at a press conference in Enugu, yesterday, said the workersâ€™ demands earlier tabled before the PHCN management by in-house labour unions, include â€œimmediate payment of monetisation arrearsÂ from 2003 to 2009, immediate payment of the balance of 150 per cent salary increase (the balance of 137%) and absorption and regularisation of the present casual workers in PHCN.â€
He lamented the failure of the PHCN management to meet these demands despite the 21 days ultimatum given by the union, which expires on Monday, adding that it hadÂ exposed the insensitivity of management and government to the plight of the electricity workers in the country.
Akoh noted with regrets that the Federal Government had not done much in terms of carrying stakeholders in the power sector along to seek practical ways of tackling the lingering problems in the sector, saying that the power sector would not move forward until the government develops the political will and courage to confront the problems bedeviling the sector.
Power for development
He said,Â â€œgovernment all over the world attaches great importance to the power sector and spends much in capacity building because electricity is the bedrock for any nationâ€™s industrialisation and technological advancement, which enhances economic growth.
â€œFor our power sector to move forward, government must have the political will and courage to frontally combat the ills bedeviling the sector, embark on massive capacity building, exploring all forms of energy, massive expansion of the transmission and distribution networks.
Why load shedding
â€œIt is sad to note that even as we speak, the present transmission and distribution networks cannot transmit and deliver electricity effectively to Nigerians, hence the massive load shedding being experienced.Â
â€œSome of the IPP stations cannot effectively transmit to the national grid because of weak transmission network and the distribution sector cannot equally distribute the energy effectively because of weak and obsolete distribution network.â€ he added.