Electricity workers have vowed that no private sector individual or group will take over the assets of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, unless the severance benefits and other entitlements were fully paid.
At a joint briefing in Lagos, under the umbrella of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, and the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, the workers also insisted that the PHCN’s assets are worth over N1.5 trillion. They argued that anybody valuing such assets at N200billion is not only a rogue, but an enemy of the country.
Addressing journalists on behalf of the two unions, the President-General of SSAEAC, Mr Bede Opara, said, “The fourteen months (14) long Negotiations between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Labour Unions in PHCN ended recently without concluding the most important issues of severance payment, gratuity and pensions.
“Furthermore the request for the payment of 53.36% salary increase availed public servants in 2009, when government freezed salaries in PHCN and requested for negotiation on our expired collective agreement were turned down by government.
“In paying our Pensions, Government posited that it will pay into RSA to be opened by all staff and it will calculate in accordance with our superannuation up to June, 2004 which takes into recognition 25% of our salaries deducted for that purpose and from June 2004 (effective date of the Pension Reform Act) it will calculate only 15% which is the minimum granted by the Pension Act.
The workers, therefore, urged government to urgently offset its liabilities to them, failing which it would resist the privatisation programme for the power company.