Sunday, September 06, 2015

Why Power Has Been Stable Under Buhari – Labour

Organised labour in the electricity sector has
warned that the current power supply in the
country is not sustainable. It has also given reasons
Nigerians are experiencing improved power

Speaking through the National Union of Electricity Employees(NUEE), labour said the raining season, the President Muhammadu Buhari factor and steady supply of gas to power plants were the major reasons for the improved power supply. "During this time of the year, there is always a slight improvement in power supply because of the rise in water level. That is, the lake goes up and hydro power stations generate more power.

Second is the Buhari factor which has made
operator to sit up and added to that, before now,
the gas pipelines were usually vandalized," the
General Secretary of NUEE, Mr. Joe Ajaero said.
"We suspect it may be in collaboration by some
highly placed individuals who award contracts for
the pipelines to be repaired which runs into billions
of Naira. If the pipelines are vandalized and the
contracts are awarded for repairs, almost every
two months, it is big money for them. I think that
because of the fear that those who engaged in the
business may be caught, for now there is relative
peace and the gas pipelines are delivering gas to
the power plants. But we fear the current power
situation may not be sustainable. Once the rainy
season ends and the water level drops, there will
be problem. Again, today all power being
generated is being pumped into the system, there
is no reserve in case of any break down, and there
is no reserve in case of maintenance and so on. We
ought to have reserve for emergencies. Sadly, we
do not have that at the moment."
Speaking on the recent NUEE face-off with Port
Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHEDC,
Ajaero said although the Department of State
Service and the police, attempted to wade in, they
had nothing to do with industrial relations.
Ajaero warned that next time, the management of
PHEDC would not find it easy, saying "Though the
18 successor companies have disdain for union, at
least, in others, there is union management
relationship. Though we don't agree on a lot of
issues, we meet and discuss, but PHEDC does not
want to discuss. The next time we are biting them,
we are going to bite them hard. This one is just an
example. We went to Industrial Arbitration Panel,
IAP, and the management said they were not going
to respect the ruling of IAP. They wrote to us a
letter that they had appealed to the National
Industrial Court, NIC, but, till now, we have not
seen the appeal. Nevertheless, the issues now are
not the matters presented at IAP. They wanted to
use that excuse of being in court to continue to
perpetuate anti-labour practices.
"The current arrangement in the power sector
makes it easier for us to select a place and deal
with the issues there. Before now, it would have
been a nationwide action. We have perfected our
plan so that there could be power outage in Port
Harcourt, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa without
the action affecting other states. We feel sorry for
the residents of these states plan who experienced
power outage during the action, and we pray that
we will not be forced to take a similar action again.
If we take this action again, the management won't
see anyone to negotiate with. Electricity sector is a
unionised sector.
"At privatisation, the first six months was a
transition period from Power Holding Company of
Nigeria, PHCN, to the new investors. What were
transferred to new investors were the files of the
workers and grades, only Port Harcourt claimed
that the membership of the union was not
transferred. Even for the six months that nobody
was meant to talk, they did not pay their dues.
None of the workers has withdrawn his
membership of the union. The IAP told them to pay
the dues they owed. Someone who was receiving
N150, 000 before was paid N30, 000 and when they
complained, the management sacked 30 of them.
That is the level of impunity going on there. They
sacked without discussion with the union. That
impunity has to stop," Ajaero said.

AbleMoJah® Nigeria.

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