‘Shutdown of power sector by NUEE was illegal’
Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC), has described the one-day warning strike that threw the entire nation into total blackout by the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), as illegal.
SSAEAC argued that the suspended strike was illegally prosecuted, as conditions that preceded the strike were not followed.
The senior staff workers said although the process was important, electricity workers should not be seen as committing illegality.
The union said it had written to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, as well as the Minister of Power, copies of the letters were also sent to the presidency, detailing why the strike was a wrong action.
President of SSAEAC, Chris Okonkwo, at a news conference, in Lagos, described the action as an economic sabotage aimed at embarrassing the Federal Government, noting that the action was uncalled for since there was still room for negotiation.
He disclosed that a notification letter was sent to the union by NUEE upon embarking on the strike, “and we asked for a parley but the union still went ahead with their action.
“We are aware that some claims were made, but most of them were not true. We did not believe the issues were enough for a shutdown because the economy suffered losses that ran into trillions of naira as well as deaths in hospitals.
“In as much as we are fighting for the rights of our members, we always do it through due process, taking into consideration the welfare of other Nigerians.”
However, the Secretary General of NUEE, Joe Ajaero had declared that the agreement signed with representatives of the Federal Government and others, which necessitated the suspension of the strike should be implemented to avert a resumption of the action.
Ajaero, who spoke at the union’s 6th quadrennial/11th national delegates conference in Lagos, called on critical stakeholders to join hands together to rescue the sector from collapse.
He said: “There is the need for us to sit down to discuss the way forward. Nobody is happy with what is happening in the sector. Nigerians are not happy.
“The level at which are members are being assaassaulted, harrassed and beaten up are increasing. Nigerians are venting their frustration on the power situation on our members, “he said.
SSAEAC also alleged that their junior counterpart, NUEE, has lured their members under the guise that they aren’t senior staff, and by that taken over 70 per cent of its revenues.