Electricity Workers Union at loggerheads with PHEDC over planned lay-off of 100 staff

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Tina Amanda

The Electricity Workers Union has threatened to embark on strike over attempts by Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) to sack some of its workers without due process.

Acting General Secretary, Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies South-South, Comrade Innocent Lord-Douglas, who stated this to our correspondent Tina Amanda, said the Union is not in support of PHEDC management wanting to sack over hundred staff without signing condition of services.

According to him, the union will have no option but to withdraw the services of its members, if the management refuses to follow rules governing staff condition of services.

“Management has been dilly-dallying on signing condition of services. If you come up with a proposal that you want to sack workers, what is going to be their benefit when the condition of services that suppose to determine what staff get in a situation like this has not been signed.

“The staff of PHEDC for over seven years have not gotten any promotion, they have not observed their public holidays all to make the industry stand.

“In a situation like this, the union’s position is very obvious. We have written to them and we are yet to get a reply from them, we have made them understand that the union will not stand with them, we are going to resist every effort if they come up with such plan anytime any day.

“If the management plans to sack staff, the union wants to know why the staff should be sacked and due process or procedures should be followed. If at the end of time PHEDC management goes ahead to lay off workers, the union would not hesitate to go through the union’s policy which is to shut down the electricity sector.

“Because if they sack some today, it means they will sack others tomorrow, if that happens we have no option than to tell our members to stay at home and let the management start doing the job.

“Anybody that is going to be sacked at this time, the process of sacking has not been followed, some have worked for seven years without the condition of services. No staff will be allowed to go into PHEDC when the condition of services has not been met and signed.

“If they want to sack workers, they have to first of all sign the condition of services and then, we can sack based on the condition of services”

Comrade Lord-Douglas urged the management of PHEDC to dialogue with the union before carrying out such actions for the interest of all.

“We are also proposing a meeting with the management and we believe some of these issues will make the meeting. We are urging the management to work with workers, dialogue with union bodies.

“We know the times are hard, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected productivity, it is not the staff that caused the COVID-19, why should the staff be the ones to suffer most? I pray management knows that this time will pass away and work with the staff that have also suffer the same fate”