The Nigeria Labour Congress and National Union of Electricity Employees on Friday picketed the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
The NLC and NUEE officials stormed the premises of the PHEDC in Opolo, Yenagoa, and locked the gates and prevented access to the offices.
The development compelled customers to turn back.
Placards with inscriptions as “PHED stop intimidation and slavery; Freedom of Association should not be denied staff. We want a stop to institutionalised casual contract appointment in PHED’’, among others were on display.
The state NLC Chairman, Fred Oruseibo, said the workers’ grievances include arbitrary dismissal and termination of appointments without cogent reasons.
Mr. Oruseibo, who is also the Bayelsa state NUEE Chairman, said the company had refused to negotiate its procedural agreement and conditions of service of staff with labour.
He said the most annoying part was that most of their workers were casual staff.
“We all know that casualisation of workers is against the convention of the International Labour Organisation and against Nigerian labour laws.
“The management of PHEDC refused to negotiate the conditions of service with the staff. They did that in order to enslave the workers,’’ he said.
On the sale of the DISCO, the NLC chairman said when the company bought PHEDC, it sacked 33 operators, who were on salary scale of between N100, 000 and N150, 000 a month.
He said the company contracted their jobs to contractors who they are offering to pay N20, 000 and N30, 000.
“The workers refused and because of that they were sacked without any cogent reason,’’ Mr. Oruseibo said.
The NUEE had in a letter dated July 23, 2015 issued a 14 day ultimatum to the PHEDC to review casualisation and contract appointment of workers and recall sacked employees or face picketing of its business premises.
Reacting to the issues, the PHEDC Manager Corporate Communications, Jonah Iboma, said that the management was already discussing with the unions.
“We have commenced discussions with NLC to resolve the issues and the workers have agreed to suspend the protest and we have restored normal services,’’ Mr. Iboma said.
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