TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Electricity workers yesterday, shutdowns the headquarters of Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, over poor welfare.
The workers, who staged a peaceful protest, accused PHED of refusing to sign the workers’ condition of service and procedural agreement.
General Secretary, National Union of Electricity Employees, Joseph Ajaero, while addressing journalists during the protests, said PHED was the only electricity distribution company that had not signed the workers condition of service and procedural agreement.
Ajaero accused the firm of delisting and deunionising the workers, who were already members of unions, as well as refusing to remit already deducted check off dues of staffers.
He said: “The electricity workers, Port Harcourt electricity zone, which covers Port Harcourt, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Bayelsa States, have shutdown the headquarters of Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company for refusing to sign workers’ condition of service and procedural agreement.
“That all the electricity companies in the country have signed conditions of service except Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company and organising slave labour here. You don’t work in a place without condition of service, that is where rules of engagement and procedures are stated for the workplace. So, there must be industrial democracy in the workplace.
The union’s Secretary-General said that the strike action would continue until the workers’ demands were met.
Ajaero declared: “We started our protest at 12 midnight today and we’ll be here till further notice and if we leave here and these issues are not resolved, we will take a solidarity action nationwide.
Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, Chioma Aminwe, who spoke to journalists, said the issues raised by the workers were being addressed.