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PHCN workers begin strike Monday

By Emeka Mamah, Uduma Kalu, Tony Edike & Gabriel Enogholase
INDICATIONS emerged yesterday that workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, would go ahead with Monday’s planned nationwide strike over non payment of monetization of the negotiated arrears, non payment of balance of 150 per cent salary increase and regularization of the employment of over 10,000 casual/contract workers in PHCN.

Under the aegis of National Union of Electric Employers, NUEE, and its Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, the workers in Lagos, Benin, Enugu and Kaduna zones, argued that the only way the strike could be called off was for government and the management of PHCN to address their three major demands.

In Lagos, Messrs. Anthony Agyake, zonal organising Secretary (Lagos G &T) and Babatunde K. Giwa (Lagos/Ogun), said the workers had passed a vote of no confidence in the ability of the Presidential Special Adviser on Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, to make the PHCN work and said, they signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with PHCN and government on May 14, 2010 for the payment of arrears of monetisation due to its workers which agitation it began in 2003.

According to them, with the term of agreement, it ought to be concluded within four weeks with effect from last May 17. “Sadly, the agreement expired on June 13 without a response from government.

“Again, its two in-house unions gave a two week- ultimatum to the government on July 12 but the situation has remained the same,”  Mr Agyake said.

Action begins Sunday night

Members at North-West zone of NUEE after a meeting in Kano, in a statement by the Vice President, North-West, Comrade Sikamtat Ali Mshelinga and Assistant General Secretary, Comrade Moses Amedu, said the strike would commence at midnight on Sunday.

The statement read: “For the avoidance of doubt, all operators, security guards, linesmen, engineers, marketers and cashiers among others, must abandon their duties as directed.

“No directive from any quarters should be obeyed, except from the leadership of the union. All our members are also directed not to allow the Presidential Committee on Power, led by Prof. Barth Nnaji access into any of the PHCN premises or stations until the labour issues are resolved with our national leaders.”

…in Eastern zone too

Briefing reporters on the planned industrial action in Enugu, Senior Assistant General Secretary of NUEE Eastern zone, Comrade Cyprian Ndubuisi Akoh, said: “To our bewilderment, government and PHCN management have remained adamant. Consequent upon the forgone, the national leadership of the in-house PHCN unions have directed that with effect from Monday 26th July, 2010 all workers of PHCN are directed to stay at home till the labour issues are holistically addressed,”

…also Benin zone

In Benin zone, the union at the end of their zonal meeting in Benin yesterday in a resolution signed by its Zonal Organizing  Secretary, Comrade J.N Ndem, while insisting that they were not against reform programme of the Federal Government in the power sector, is however demanding the immediate payment of monetization arrears spanning from 2003 to 2009.


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