14th March, 2012
Members of the Nigerian Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) on Tuesday barricaded the PHCN office at Zone 4, Abuja, in protest against the non-payment of their transfer allowances and three months salary arrears.
Leaders of the workers, who refused visitors, including journalists, access to the office, declined comments on the action.
They stayed inside the office and sang solidarity songs.
One of the workers, who spoke to NAN on condition of anonymity, said that other PHCN districts had paid their staff their transfer allowances and were not owing them salaries.
He listed the districts as Kano, Benin and Yola.
NAN reports that members of NUEE had on January 23 locked all the gates leading to the PHCN headquarters, Abuja, to protest the non-payment of their entitlements.
Mr. Temple Iworima, Secretary of NUEE, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at that time, said the union took the action because the Federal Government had reneged on its promise to fulfill all labour issues before privatising the PHCN.
Iworima, who coordinated the protest in the FCT, Niger, Nasarawa and Kogi, noted that the Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, had recently directed the management to issue transfer letters to all the staff, without consulting the union.
He said that the action was against the Convention of the International Labour Organisation.
“But the staff have not seen any letter, hence the union directed all PHCN staff nationwide to barricade their offices.”
In his reaction, Mr. Greyne Anosike, Head, Media/ Public Relations of the Ministry of Power, said that the minister had complied with the “provisions of the 2005 Act, which unbounded PHCN.”
He stressed that PHCN had been privatised with 18 successor companies, adding that arrangements were being made to transfer workers at the PHCN headquarters to any of the companies.