by Victor Ahiuma-Young
THERE are strong indications that electricity workers are planning a major showdown with Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Eko DISCO, and Egbin Power Plc over perceived unfair labour practices.
This is coming after a similar confrontation with Ikeja Electricity, IE also known as Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, Ikeja DISCO between August 8 and 10, leading to the disruption and crippling of the operations of IE at its headquarters before both parties reached agreement on how to move forward.
Investigation revealed that the workers through their union, the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, issued a 14 day ultimatum to both companies that has expired without contending issues being resolved.
For Eko DISCO, a letter to its Managing Director by NUEE General Secretary, Joe Ajaero dated July 27, 2018 and cited by Vanguard, shows that the workers’ grievances are centred around conditions of service and procedural agreement.
In the letter entitled “Re: Proof-reading of drafts conditions of service and procedural agreement”, NUEE said among others, “We write in response to your letter Ref:023/EKDC/CHRO/20.1/1876 of July 26, 2018 on the above subject and consider it pertinent to inform you that the column you tagged as ‘Union Position’ actually contains the negotiated agreements reached by the parties. We are amazed by the level of misinterpretation of facts which your officials have given you. It is obvious your officer anchoring the process is out to truncate it at this point that the relevant parties are earnestly waiting for the signing ceremony.
“You will recall that we informed you vide our letter ref: NUEE/NS/2018/110 of June 14,2018 that your management unilaterally effected some changes in the conditions of service (draft) after we had concluded negotiation on it. We detected the doctoring of the document; having gone through the copy you forwarded to us vide your memo ref: 023/EKED PLC/20.1/1439/2018 of June 7, 2018.
“Undoubtedly, you were not aware of the unethical practice of your officer handling the process until we appraised you of same in a meeting held with us on June 15, 2018. Based on our various discussions on gratuity, it was later agreed to be captured as ‘end-of-service token payment’ and it was subsequently proofread as such.
“Please cross check these undiluted facts from the proofread copy of the conditions of service as indicated below. Gratuity –page 26(regulation 4.9.4), Long service award –page 30(regulation 5.16), Transfer allowance –page 31 (regulation 5.17), Sanction grid –page18(regulation 4.4.11-17), Repatriation allowance –page25 (regulation 4.9.2), Sick leave –page23(regulation 4.6.9 and Retirement –for inclusion- we never discussed the inserted clause.”
For Egbin Power Plc, there has been lingering issue between the parties since 2017, which NUEE has reportedly written severally to the managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, CEO, to no avail.
The union has vowed not to allow management of Egbin Power Plc “continues to show disregard for the rule of law and laid down procedures toward amicable settlement of outstanding Labour issues. For the records, the unresolved issues include: Refusal to produce conditions for service that enjoy joint authorship of the workers, Refusal to allow the conduct of election that has been done nationwide, Refusal to allow union gatherings\ activities, Refusal to hand over the destroyed quarters of TCN technical staff residing at the PHCN Egbin Staff Quarters, Refusal to handover schools constructed by staff before privatization, Illegal takeover of PHCN staff quarters, clinic, staff club and other noncore assets in Egbin etc and Delist of about 100 of our members from union membership.”
An official of NUEE told Vanguard that any moment from now, the union and its allies would take on both Eko DISCO and Egbin Power Plc after they failed to take advantage of the window given to them through the 14 day ultimatum which elapsed without both firms taking action to resolve the matter.