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UPDATED: Electricity workers suspend indefinite strike following Minister’s intervention

*Electricity workers have suspended their indefinite strike earlier declared Wednesday, August 17 over outstanding Labour issues with the Transmission Company of Nigeria, alleging the company’s ‘anti-masses activities’

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Blackouts had enveloped several parts of Nigeria as the West African country’s age-long electricity supply crisis worsens as the electricity workers earlier activated their threat of downing tools effective from Wednesday, August 17, 2022.

ConsumerConnect had reported the leadership of the The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) under aegis of the Organised Labour earlier Tuesday had said that they would direct workers in the power sector to begin an indefinite strike over outstanding Labour issues with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

However, later Wednesday, announced suspension of the industrial action.

As the strike began, the Federal Government immediately summoned an emergency meeting with the electricity workers after they shut down the national grid, throwing the nation into darkness.

It was gathered that Sen. (Dr.) Chris Ngige, Honourable Minister for Labour and Employment, succeeded in brokering a truce with the electricity workers for them to suspend the strike.

It is recalled the NUEE members Tuesday, picketed the headquarters of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, in Abuja, FCT.

The had complained about the alleged failure of the Federal Government to pay the entitlement of former staff of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) December 2019.

The aggrieved workers also stressed that the action was a prelude to an indefinite industrial action, which they commenced in the afternoon August 17.

Prior to the action, Joe Ajaero, General Secretary of NUEE, in a circular titled, “Call to Action”, had directed the personnel to ensure total compliance, vowing to paralyse operations of TCN nationwide over anti-masses activities in Nigeria.

Ajaero had stated in the circular: “You are hereby enjoined to mobilise immediately for a serious picketing of TCN Headquarters and stations nationwide over the directive by the TCN Board that all PMs in acting capacity going to AGM must appear for a promotion interview.

“This directive is in contravention of our conditions of service and career progression paths, and unilaterally done without the relevant stakeholders.

The NUEE General Secretary also said: ‘’This action takes effect from Tuesday, 16th August, 2022, and total withdrawal of services commences on Wednesday 17th August 2022.

“Ensure full compliance in all the stations nationwide.”

It was learnt that the Labour union, May 18, issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of TCN.

In the circular titled, “Unresolved Issues on the Year 2021 Promotion Exercise and Others”, the union threatened to down tools at the expiration of the ultimatum if its grievances were not addressed.

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