By Victor Ahiuma_Young
WORKERS of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) have implored the management to expedite action on the implementation of the outstanding 137 percent increase in the salary and other negotiated agreements to avoid industrial unrest.
Under the umbrella of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, and its Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, who had earlier issued a 21_day ultimatum to the management of PHCN, over the matter, warned of negative consequences should the management fail to address their grievances at the expiration of three weeks’ notice.,
Other issues included the 10,000 casual workers in PHCN, and backlog of long service award grant, promotion arrears among others.
At an interactive session with a cross session of Journalists, the two in_house unions said until subsisting agreements reached with management of PHCN were settled, the issue of ongoing reform would remain secondary.
The Central Executive Council (CEC) of NUEE had also risen from its meeting calling on the management of PHCN to among other, regularize with immediate effect the appointment of over 10,000 contract workers in PHCN based on management verification exercise carried out two years ago.
The union, in a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting condemned the management on the handling of the 56 percent salary increase already implemented in the Federal Civil Service and government agencies and demands for the immediate implementation of same for PHCN workers.
The group while calling on management to embrace openness in its administration urged them to set machinery in motion towards ensuring prompt payment of 13th month salary for year 2010 noting that this should not be allowed to drag into the New Year.
The communiqué signed by NUEE’s General Secretary, Comrade Joe Ajaero called on management to effect settlement of backlog of long service award grant, promotion arrears without further delay in order to lift up workers’ morale.
The union, which condemned the spate of corruption in the country called on government to pursue to a logical conclusion the probe into the $16 billion electric power spending during the regime of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The council urged government to halt the planned privatization of PHCN and give room for private sector participation that will encourage competition in the sector.
The communiqué reads in part: “The council frowns at lack of focus by government in harnessing veritable sources in electricity generation through coal which is presently unutilized as well as well as deliberate abandonment of Mambila and Zungeru hydro power project as contained in the 1995_2005 development plan.
“The council expresses its displeasure over government’s deployment of gun trotting soldiers to various PHCN locations to cow PHCN workers from expressing their patriotic opinions on how best to move the sector forward. The council considered the planned privatization of PHCN as ill_conceived, unpatriotic and a self_serving agenda and call on government to halt this project and give room for private sector participation that will encourage competition in the sector.
“The council also urged government to demonstrate commitment towards getting the citizenry out of poverty and economic doldrums by creating employment opportunities instead of sending people to unemployment market. The council urges government to be faith to transparent and peaceful electoral process, towards 2011 general elections and beyond.
The council condemns the spate of kidnapping and high level crime in the country and call on government to ensure the safety of lives and properties of Nigerians”.