Electricity workers picket Ikeja electricity distribution company

Protesting workers. Photo credit: Saheed Olugbon

Electricity workers, under the aegis of National Union of Electricity Employees and Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, today disrupted business activities at the headquarters of the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC).


The workers, singing solidarity songs, were protesting the sack of 400 workers and the working conditions of workers in the company. Some of them who spoke with the media accused the management of the company of running it like a slave camp.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had issued a seven-day ultimatum to the electricity company last week Tuesday to recall the disengaged workers by Monday, March 7, 2016 or face industrial action.
A statement signed by NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba said, “We have received information that your management has taken a unilateral decision to disengage 400 of your employees and resort to casual labour without due process, which includes consultation with the union in your industry, the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, an affiliate of the NLC.
“This is totally unacceptable to us as your decision was obviously taken without reasonable justifications, but for the selfish exploitative interest of your management who dwell under the guise of maximising profit not only to exploit consumers but also to deepen poverty by throwing hundreds of your productive employees out of employment at a period we should all be concerned about our country’s growing unemployment rate.
“It is unexpected that a company that was given public funds to operate, after the fraudulent unbundling and privatisation of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, will turn around to extort consumers through tariff increases and go further to sack its employees. This is the highest provocation you have unleashed on us and we have more than enough capacity to respond appropriately.
“Consequently, on behalf of the National Executive Council of the NLC, you must recall all the workers affected by your ill-conceived decision. Specifically, if by Monday, 7th day of March 2016 all the affected workers are not recalled, we shall mobilise members of all our 44 affiliates, including our civil society allies and pro people organisations to massively picket your facilities in their various locations.
“This may be extended to a national action if you remain obstinate. We will not allow you or any employer, private or public, to continue to trample on the fundamental rights of workers, which includes right to work.”

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