The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, resolved to interface with the management of electricity companies and the National Union of Electricity Employees(NUEE), within 24 hours, so as to avert an impeding strike by electricity workers nationwide.
The House also summoned the Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman and his counterpart in the Ministry of Labour and Employment , Chris Ngige, as well as the various electricity Generation Companies(GENCOs) and the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) over the grievances of NUEE.
The Green chamber, while urging the Federal Government to direct the Ministers of Power and Labour and Employment to resolve all the issues raised by NUEE, mandated its Committees on Power and Labour and Employment the investigate all the allegations against the electricity companies and report back to the House within two weeks.
This followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by the deputy minority leader, Toby Okechukwu, under matters of urgent importance, calling on the House to take urgent steps to avert an impeding strike by NUEE.
Okechukwu, in his lead debate, said NUEE in a petition, dated November 7, 2019 , to the Mamman and copied to all the GENCOs and DISCOs had threatened to embark on a nationwide strike if their demands for the payment of salary arrears and remittance of pension deductions are not met within 21 days.
According to him, the grievances of NUEE also include refusal to pay over 2000 disengaged workers of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria(PHCN)since 2013, underpayment of over 50,000 former PHCN staff EX-PHCN and casualization/outsourcing of workers by the electricity companies.
The lawmaker noted that NUEE has accused the Ministry of Power of failing to respond to their strike notification letter which expires the 10th day of December 2019 , with a threat to withdraw their services without further notice, having exhausted every avenue for resolution of the dispute.
Okechukwu , while calling on the House to intervene in the issue, expressed concern that “if this threat is carried out, the whole country will be plunged in total blackout and considering the consequential role which electricity plays and the dependence Upon electricity by all sectors of the country including the National Assembly, there will be severe economic losses, which will further impact our society negatively. ”
He added that “if this threat by NUEE is not immediately looked into and nipped at the bud, it will result into serious financial losses by both private and government establishment and as well as security challenges in our country. “