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PHCN workers on strike

Employees of the Power Holding Corporation of Nigeria (PHCN), in Lagos on Friday, embarked on an indefinite strike to press for the payment of their terminal benefits as the company gears towards full privatisation.

The President of the Senior Staff of Association of Electricity and Allied Company, Bede Opara, said the strike was necessitated by federal government’s reluctance to address pending issues concerning payment of benefits to workers ahead of privatisation.
The workers, who shut down PHCN offices in the state, vowed not to return to work till their grievances had been addressed.

Top on the list of their grievances are issues of gratuity, pension and terminal benefits for the workers who stand to be affected by the privatisation.
“The government should have addressed all pending issues before the privatisation. We have had dialogues with them in the last 14 months, but there have been no results,” Opara said.

“It will be unfair to embark on the privatisation without giving the workers their dues for serving the country for a long period. Many of the workers have put in up to 30 years of service, and so deserve to get appropriate benefits.”

In readiness for the privatisation of the Power Company, the federal government had directed the redeployment of affected workers to other ministries, but the workers expressed displeasure with their transfer.

In his reaction, the Vice Chairman, State Chapter of the National Union of Electricity Employees and Senior Staff Electricity Association and Allied Matters, Jacob Ishola, said not all redeployed workers were willing to remain in service.
“We want the entitlements paid so that those who intend to remain in the service can continue, while the ones that are not willing to continue can have something to leave with,” he said.

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