PHED mgt expresses surprise over picketing by electricity workers

From Amos Okioma,Yenagoa.

The Management of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Plc, has expressed surprise and disappointment over the picketing of its offices across the franchise area by the leadership of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, early Wednesday morning.

In a press statement signed by Mr. John Onyi, manager, corporate communications, said the picketing has disrupted the activities of PHED in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa and Rivers states in distributing power supply to its customers thereby leading to grounding of economic activities in the states.

He said the avoidable action of the Union is becoming one, too many for a service provider with the mandate of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to distribute power supply in its franchise area seamlessly.

The statement reads in part, “The Union had through press interviews and pamphlets in circulation adduced the following reasons for embarking on the picketing; refusal of Management to sign Condition of Service and Procedural Agreement, refusal to remit already deducted check-off dues, insensitivity to workers welfare and obnoxious policy of restructuring and repositioning.”

In response Mr. Onyi said the Management therefore, wishes to state and set the record straight without any iota of contradiction that the adduced reasons are far from the truth. The facts they say will always remain sacrosanct; “For emphasis, the Management of PHED never refused the signing of the condition of service. In fact, it was the leadership of Dr. Henry Ajagbawa that actualised the lingering CoS of about six years. After painstaking corrections/input from both parties, it was agreed for signing on the 23rd May 2020.

The stage was set for the signing but NUEE did not turn up but Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies did and today SSAEC has a copy of the signed copy. PHED is still wondering why NUEE did not come for the signing.”

“On the 1st of June 2020, another meeting was fixed at their instance and as a responsive organization, PHED obliged them and that was the last time we heard from the Union until today.
The Union check- off dues has been up to date in terms of remittance except two months in 2019 that are having reconciliation issue with the bank.

The statement further said, on the de-listing of their members, management is not aware of such move since membership of either belonging to NUEE or SSAEC is voluntary.

He said the present management has been labour friendly and its doors are always open to dialogue with the Unions for mutual benefits. “The discussion with union continues tomorrow.”

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