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Power: Electricity Workers Threaten Fresh Strike Accuses Minister Of Intimidation

Electricity workers under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees have issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to implement an agreement signed on Dec. 11, 2019.

NUEE General Secretary, Mr Joe Ajaero, made this known at a news conference in Lagos.

Ajaero said that if after the ultimatum the issues were not addressed, the union would resume its suspended industrial action without further consultation.

“We wanted to resume our action on Jan. 27 based on wild cat industrial action, but we remembered the appeal by the Speaker, House of Representatives and Minister of Labour not to resort to that.

“We invite you here to issue a fresh 14-day ultimatum to the government to address issues that were contained in an agreement signed on Dec. 11, 2019, ” he said.

The General Secretary said also that the action had become necessary based on harassment and intimidation by the minister of state during the meeting held on Jan. 27.

He, therefore, called on the minister of state to apologize to the union.

“We observed that when the first item was raised on update from BPE at the meeting, the BPE boss was absent at the meeting; we then advised that the matter be stepped down for other items to be discussed.

“This infuriated the Honorable Minister of State for Power, who said he took exception to that, threatening that he is in control and competent to discuss the BPE issue.

“When he was now called upon to provide information and update on the BPE and payment/verification of staff of Ex-PHCN, he could not.

“At that point, he banged the table, stood up and started shouting on top of his voice which attracted security personnel who jumped into the meeting and threatened to beat us up. He quickly announced that the meeting has been suspended and adjourned indefinitely.

“The union stayed back as a display of maturity and retired to the office of the Permanent Secretary, Minister of Power, where another meeting took place between the Union and the Permanent Secretary of Power till 8:30 pm on other issues amicably on the same day.

“In view of this un-ministerial behavior of the Minister of State, Power, the union wishes to demand as follows: an unreserved apology from the Minister of State (Power) for humiliation, intimidation, harassment, and abuse of privilege, thereby undermining the interest of the workers in the sector.

“That within 14 days, all the issues agreed upon at the meeting on December 11, 2019, should be implemented without further delay. If not, the union will resume its suspended industrial action of December 11, 2019,” he warned.

Ajaero said that some issues pending included non-payment of over 2000 disengaged PHCN staff; 16 months underpayment of severance benefits as well as 7.5 percent pension component among others.

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