NLC President, Abdulwaheed Omar
Workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) has said that the ongoing privatisation by the Federal Government will be inconclusive unless all outstanding labour issues including payments of gratuities and pensions in line with the PHCN’s condition of service are resolved.
General Secretary of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Joe Ajaero, told newsmen in Lagos that workers would continue to resist the use of intimidation by the government in the attempt to force them to forego their full entitlements as guaranteed by their condition of employment.
According to the union spokesman, private investors that will emerge new owners of the generation companies (GENCOS) and distribution companies (DISCO) would not be allowed to take possession of the companies if all outstanding issues were not resolved.
Ajaero, who maintained that workers were not opposed to private player’s involvement in the power sector, however described as fraudulent and “gross under-valuation of PHCN assets and disposal of these public assets to government cronies under the guise of privatisation.”
He said: “The sale of PHCN assets is bound to fail and Nigerians will be in for it. PHCN makes about N300 billion every year but the BPE is selling it for N200 billion that means that something is wrong somewhere, It is like selling without evaluation at a give-away price.
“As operators in the industry, we know the market value. For instance, PHCN has over 300 landed properties in choice areas across the country and we are not talking about the structures there. In Eko zone, we have not less than 1,000 transformers. The purpose of the sale is to enrich a few and impoverish the majority of Nigerians. These fraudulent activities cannot stand the text of time,” he said.
Insisting that workers must be paid their entitlements, Ajaero pointed out that from experience, new management of companies privatised by the BPE had always told the workers they would not carry the burden of past management, which is why government must pay severance
package and resolve pension issue before transiting to new employers who may not be obliged to retain inherited staff of PHCN.
“New investors cannot come there without the resolution of all labour issues. Workers entitlements must be paid before any investor can be allowed to operate,” he insisted.