BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
LAGOS — SENIOR Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, has dismissed government claims that most of the workers of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, have been paid their terminal benefits ahead of hand-over to new owners, saying only a few workers had been paid.
In a petition to the Minister of Power, the association claimed the money purported to have been paid to the workers after the October 2, agreement with government never entered the workers’ accounts, reiterating that no new owners would take physical possession of PHCN assets until all workers had been paid their terminal benefits.
The petition by SSAEAC President-General and Secretary General, Bede Opara and Abiodun Ogunsegha, warned that workers would shut down the sector should effort be made to physically take over the assets without full payment of workers benefits.
According to the petition “We state here that in our meeting with the Chairman, Implementation Committee, Permanent Secretary, Federal Minister of Power on Wednesday 2nd October, 2013, it was agreed that payment of terminal benefits of PHCN staff entitlements will be concluded in two weeks from that date. However we note that up to this moment, only a handful of payment has been made.
“What we heard or read in the Newspapers is that Government intends to physically hand over the PHCN infrastructures to the investors on 1st of November, 2013. “
“We state that this will negate and violate the understanding and agreement reached with the unions and we stand clearly to state again that we shall resist any physical hand-over until all payments are concluded.
“Information available to us is as follows: Benin 50 per cent not paid yet, Jos 55 per cent not paid yet, Sapele 77 people not paid, Egbin 60 people not paid yet, Ughelli 61 people not paid yet, Afam 67 people not paid yet, Kaduna 100 per cent yet to collect – nobody has been paid. Jebba 219 yet to be paid, Abuja over 1000 not paid, Transmission -none has been paid and, Retirement Savings Account, RSA, entitlements not paid to anyone “
The petition added “Government had said and made us to believe money needed was available. We also got the assurance of the Accountant-General of the Federation that money is available to pay. Who is holding the money or refusing to release to the beneficiaries. Government should act now; else no one should blame the Labour Union for any action that should be taken.“