Nigeria electricity workers reject N45bn severance package, boycott meeting with FG

The unions say the Nigerian government is deviating from an earlier agreement.

Electricity workers in Nigeria have asked the Federal Government to explain the reasons it decided to pay N45 billion as severance package against the N384 billion it earlier promised.

A workers union leader, Bede Opara, President General of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, made the demand in an interview in Lagos on Wednesday.

Mr. Opara said the workers recently received a letter to that effect from the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE. He noted that the salary scale used in computing their gratuity was not the salary scale agreed with the Technical and Negotiation Team under the leadership of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

The Federal Government, as part of reforms of the electricity sector, decided to lay off workers after all parties agreed to severance payments.

The association boss said that the unions had nothing to negotiate with the government any more; and advised the Ministry of Power to ensure that all labour issues were addressed to enable workers to get their entitlements in time.

The unions, on Tuesday, boycotted the meeting of a committee set up by the ministry on the payment of severance benefits.

The Minister, Chinedu Nebo, had announced that the committee would be inaugurated on Tuesday.

“There is nothing to negotiate with the government again because we have finished negotiation since December 12, 2012. What we think we are here for is the implementation of the agreement reached with the government’s representatives,” Mr. Opara stressed.

He contended that the technical committee earlier set up on the matter should be allowed to continue its work.

“The technical committee comprising Alexander Forbes, Bureau of Public Enterprises, PHCN and the in-house unions should be allowed to continue with their responsibility. This committee will ensure that the accurate amount is given to each PHCN worker at the end of the day,” he said.

(NAN)


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