BY KUNLE KALEJAYE
Workers of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, today embarked on a nationwide protest against the non-payment of their entitlements by the Federal Government.
The protest was led by the National Union of Electricity Employee, NUEE and other union bodies in the power sector.
At exactly 10 minutes pass 11 am in Lagos, Marina, the aggrieved workers took to the street, chanting solidarity songs and displayed posters with various inscriptions.
During the protest, the workers said their unsettled terminal benefits which include severance payment, retirement gratuity, death benefits, and pension deduction among other entitlements have not been paid by the federal government.
Addressing news men at the protest, the Zonal Organising Secretary 1, Lagos, NUEE, comrade Agyake Anthony said all the collective agreements reached between the union and government in the power sector have been desecrated.
He said presently, the pension deductions of about 48,000 workers from July 2012 till date have not been effected adding that over 5,000 workers who retired statutorily are yet to be paid their gratuity.
Anthony lamented that the death benefits of over 1,000 people who died in active service are yet to be paid to their families.
Commenting on Pension compensation, Anthony said over 25,000 workers have not received their compensation while over 10,000 workers in the sector have not been paid a dime as their severance entitlement.
He added that over 50 per cent of workers in the sector have been wrongfully and illegally disengaged.
Other issues fuelling the protest according to NUEE include verbal disengagement of about 3,000 verified casual workers from the sector without remuneration, efforts made to instituitionalise casual/contract appointment, nonpayment of salaries for two months and unilateral reduction of salaries and wages of employees.
Anthony said several efforts made towards getting the issues addressed by the relevant ministries and agencies have been truncated by those who want to disrupt power supply to Nigerians.
According to him “in this spirit of patriotism, we use this medium to call on the government to address the issues raised without further delay as the flagrant denial of the workers right has inflicted unprecedented pain on them.
“We hope this clarion call falls on ears that will act positively towards resolving these issues,” he said