Workers of defunct Power Holdings Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Jos, inherited by the Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC), following its sale in 2013, are resisting the reforms aimed at re-positioning the outfit.
JEDC Managing Director, Alhaji Mohammed Gidado Modibbo, who made the observation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Jos, said the workers have yet to realise that the company was now a private outfit working towards meeting strict corporate goals.
According to him, management’s insistence on assessing the productivity of staff towards ensuring that everyone is an asset that adds value to the outfit, is being resisted by some workers.
“We try to assess every worker and his contributions to service delivery; we try to know the needs of our customers and make sure that every worker has a duty he or she must play in the chain toward efficiency.
“We also set corporate targets and insist that we must all work hard towards meeting such goals; certainly, we cannot carry along with dead woods and people that are weak, redundant and not productive,” Modibbo declared.
The managing director spoke in reaction to the recent picketing of the JEDC headquarters by some workers, over alleged “indiscriminate sacking” some of their colleagues.
The workers, under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employee (NUEE), had also alleged that there was disparity in the salaries of workers, with those inherited from the old PHCN earning less than those employed by the JEDC after it took over in 2013.
Led by Mr Musa Ayiga, NUEE’s Vice President in the North-East, the workers further alleged that persons engaged as interns had yet to be regularised as permanent employees.
But Modibbo said that the JEDC had only disengaged 41 workers found not to be useful, and employed 249 new workers.
“We did not engage in a mass sack of workers as is being alleged by the union; we only removed redundant personnel whose productivity has dropped.
“Among those sacked were four Assistant General Managers, four Business Managers as well as principal and senior managers we found unproductive and needed replacement to enable us perform at our optimum.
“We operate the company as a private outfit that knows that it could only survive if it works with the best hands that will add value to the system,” Modibbo explained.
Modibbo said that Ayiga, who led the protest, was among those sacked, and expressed surprise that he (Ayiga) mobilised students to picket the office, unmindful of the fact that JEDC promoted him before he was disengaged.
“When he worked with the PHCN, he stayed for more than 13 years without promotion but we elevated him before he was disengaged, only for him to turn round and mobilise some people to disrupt service delivery,” Modibbo said.
Modibo said that it was wrong for the workers’ union to seek to force the company to work with people considered redundant and unproductive.
He alleged that some of the workers were sacked over unwholesome activities, adding that it was such workers that mobilised students to seal JEDC’s headquarters and disrupt its services.
He said that JEDC was a private outfit that must stay afloat and survive, hence its placing of premium on productivity and resourcefulness.
“The records and data are there to support the performances of those sacked and those retained,” he said.
The managing director also dismissed claims of alleged disparity in salaries of workers, explaining that the salaries were harmonised in November 2015.
“We harmonised the salaries in November 2015 and increased the wages by 200 per cent across board.
“We know the relevance of morale to efficiency and cannot treat some workers better than others, because we all need their maximum output,’’ he said.
Modibbo said that he had never engaged in any argument with the union, and warned that the company may be forced to take legal action against the union if it continued to mobilize “thugs’’ to disrupt its activities.(NAN)