TCN chapter at loggerheads with SSAEAC over illegalities, N25m dues
The recurring face-off between the national body of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) chapter of the association has re-surfaced again with allegations bordering on illegalities and as well as financial crisis.
Earlier this year, workers, especially members of SSAEAC at TCN, had resisted shutdown of electricity transmission arm of the country’s power sector by the national body while accusing Chris Okonkwo, the current president of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies of illegalities.
In the recent development, President, TCN Branch of SSAEAC, Abidemi Dairo decried some illegalities, imposition of the national body and the withholding of about N25 million dues for 33 months.
Dairo, who had faulted the emergence of Okonkwo, a Principal Manager with the Ikeja Distribution Company Ltd that was seconded to TCN as General Manager by the Ministry of Power said the union alerted the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment in September 2019 that Okonkwo is a management official at TCN and that being the President General of SSAEAC violates the Trade Union Act Cap. T14 Laws of the Federation, 2004 as amended.
Speaking on the fund, Dairo said: “He has refused to pay the check-off dues of the TCN branch of SSAEAC for 33 months, all totalling about N25 million. Okonkwo also purportedly suspended the branch from the SSAEAC National which action is being challenged at the National Industrial Court.
“He isn’t a staff of TCN, he has no appointment letter. He came from Ikeja Distribution. He was never an AGM before becoming a GM.”
He disclosed further that, “We were at the Ministry of Labour on the 7th of July 2019 to complain of the non-remittance of the check-off Due rebate for over 33 months, about N25m,” Dairo said.
Dairo said the Ministry rather mandated TCN management to continue payment in full to SSAEAC National with a promise to ensure remittance to TCN Branch.
“The National has refused to pay the TCN Branch her 50 percent Check-off due rebate till date, despite recent N6.7m payment by TCN to the National with evidence presented before the Permanent Secretary in the Labour by ministry but to no avail. Our members are getting agitated but the Ministry is still ignoring us,” he stated.
When contacted, Okonkwo described the Dairo-led faction of the association as illegal, stating that the national body has expelled the Dairo and executives under him.
“The exco led by Dairo Abidemi in SSAEAC TCN were expelled for anti-union activities since April 2019 having been on suspension for a year earlier. SSAEAC National Delegates Conference replaced the expelled TCN Branch exco since April 2019 having expelled the former.
Okonkwo said SSAEAC is in trade dispute with TCN management, adding that the management was sponsoring destabilisation of its union and stopped remittance of its dues.
According to him, outstanding remittance from TCN to SSAEAC is N30m.
He stated that duly expelled persons cannot lay claim to dues, stressing that their sponsor is tampering with SSAEAC dues and yet to remit all withheld funds.
“Without suspension and then expulsion, the person’s tenure in office expired in June 2019.
“On the sabotage of shutting down the National grid on 11th December, these expelled people and their sponsors colluded with junior staff union NUEE to achieve that, to intimidate Ministers of Power and government. SSAEAC as a Senior Staff union condemned the action and reported the sabotage to government,” he said.
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