Electricity workers union threaten industrial action over sacking of staff by PHED

Tina Amanda

The Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, has threatened to shutdown with the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHED, over alleged mass sacking of workers without commensurate emoluments.

Assistant General Secretary of SSAEAC, Comrade Innocent LordDouglas, describe the action of the company as an injustice and accused the Disco of failing to abide by the terms of collective bargaining agreement reached with the union in 2020.

LordDouglas disclosed that already, 60 staff of PHED have been penciled for sacking, adding that all efforts by the union to dialogue with the Disco over the issue, have proved abortive.

To this end, the union has issued a 14-days ultimatum to the management of PHED for a dialogue or face industrial action.

He explained that PHED workers are called to pick up their sack letters with no explanation why their services are no longer needed, warning that the union would not tolerate such anti-labour treatment on its members.

“In the conditions of service that we signed with PHED, if you want to lay off a worker that has worked five years and above, you give him 50 or 40 percent of his total emolument.

“If you are giving the staff a letter, you also give him his money. But if you withhold his money and you give a staff letter to go, when is the staff going to access his money?

”What that means is that the staff does not have access to the office anymore and that money can stay up to one or two years as the case may be.”

The union further disclosed that already over six workers have received their sack letters, while advising the remaining staff who were yet to collect their sack letters, not to do so without all their entitlement being paid.

“If the management wants to give you letter without your money, it becomes a labour issue. When staff refused a letter, it means there is a caveat or an issue and the decision of management does not stand until such issues are resolved.

“So, any staff that went there to collect letter is doing that at his own peril,” he added, as he urged such workers to report to the union for necessary action.‌”

As at the time of filing this report, the management of PHED is yet to respond to these allegations raised by the electricity workers union.