The disengaged workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria have declared that the sum of N170bn provided by the Federal Government as their severance pay is grossly inadequate.
The Secretary-General of the National Union of Electricity Employees, Mr Joe Ajaero, said that the government had contradicted itself by saying that it would pay about N170bnn to the workers when the workers had demanded an amount in excess of N500bn. He also said that all issues had not been resolved, despite the reaching of an agreement with the government.
He also said that the mention of N170bn by the Ministry of Power as the money set aside for staff entitlements clearly showed them as people with stiff positions.
“For avoidance of doubt and from the result of the agreement, the staff accrued pay-off is above N500bn and one component of the pay-off is more than N170bn,” he said.
He said that the ministry was aiming at creating confusion and insisted that nothing the government does would make the workers back down.
“As a union, we want to assure the executives of the ministry who increased military presence at PHCN installations over the past few days, that we are more than committed to resist any attempt by anti-worker agents to short-change the workers, or even contemplate batch payment as was used against NITEL workers.”
He advised PHCN workers not to open Retirement Savings Account until there is an actuarial valuation carried out by bodies endorsed by their representatives.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power, Dr Dere Awosika, had recently said in Lagos during a power summit that the Federal Government would pay N170bn as pensions and gratuities to the workers.
However, the President-General, SSAEAC, Mr Bede Opara, said no worker would allow any investor take over any PHCN outlet pending the settlement of all agreements.
“Labour and the Federal Government have reached a resolution, but we are now waiting for implementation. It is after the implementation that investors will be allowed to come and take over what they have bought,” he said.