Disengaged PHCN workers protest against non-payment of severance allowance
DISENGAGED workers of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) at the weekend protested against non-payment of their severance allowance by the Federal Government in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
The aggrieved workers, who were mainly on contract as at when sacked, told journalists that they were all laid off verbally without any official letter to such effect.
The protesters, it was gathered, were among those disengaged from service in October last year due to privatisation of the power sector.
Chanting solidarity songs, the aggrieved former workers carried placards bearing different inscriptions such as: “We are dying, please help us”, “We served for over 15 years without payment and benefits”, “This is an injustice to laid us off without pay”, among others.
In an interview with journalists, a spokesperson for the protesters, Mr. Tunde Bada, lamented that despite their 15 years labour in the power company, the Federal Government and the new owners of the electricity company were inclement to them.
Bada, who said that many of the disengaged workers are dying of hunger as a result of Federal Government’s insensitivity to their grievances and plights, also said it was unfortunate that after two years of privatising the power company, they were yet to be paid their severance allowance.
He said: “We are dying and pleading with the outgoing government to help us. We don’t know what fate will befall us when they leave. Nigerians should please rescue and help us.”
“We are surprised that in Akure district, we still have over 70 people that are yet to be regularised, and this is not so in other zones.”
But former Head of Human Resources Department of the company in Idanre Unit, Mr. Jacob Aluko, is hopeful that the incoming administration would listen to their plight.
Aluko said the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, would listen to their complaints and ensure that all affected workers are paid their entitlements.
“We are sure that the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, will address our issue which had since been giving us serious headache”, he said.
He, however, wondered why the out-going government, led by President Goodluck Jonathan, would neglect electricity workers who had served the nation meritoriously without paying their entitlements and allowances.