From Maduabuchi Nmeribeh, Kano
The Monday morning picketing of the Post Office Road Headquarters of Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO), by the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC), has snowballed into war-of-words.
The leadership of NLC, Kano Chapter had stormed KEDCO headquarters Monday morning in response to outcry of workers who alleged poor welfare and over-labour.
The about 1500 KEDCO staff took their plight to Dr. Ado Minjibir-led leadership of Kano NLC.
Minjibir, while addressing journalists at the gate of KEDCO headquarters, said, “we are here to press home the 13 demands of our members. The points of our demands are ,payment of 13-month salaries of 2019 and 2020. We are against selective promotions. The condition of service of KEDCO must be followed strictly henceforth.
“We are here, also, demanding for the remittance of 48-month arrears deducted from members. We will not condone unlawful dismissal of workers on the pretext of low performance.”
The Kano NLC boss, further stated that, “the management of KEDCO is hereby called upon to address these issues urgently; therwise, we want to assure them that this is the beginning. Picketing is one of the constitutional right of Labour Union. If the right thing is not done, we will continue to push pressure to the management until the right thing is done.”
He wondered, “how management wanted its workers to perform, when they were not taken good care of. Their welfare should be taken care of. We want the management to urgently treat these issues.”
In a swift reaction, the Management of KEDCO said it will not tolerate incompetency and under-performance.
The Management through a Statement by its Head, Corporate Communications, Ibrahim Sani Shawai, said that the company would not tolerate incompetency and under-performance in its franchise.
The Statement added that, “the Management stated this following the stay-at-home notice issued to workers by the Senior Staff Association and Allied Company (SSAEAC) and National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) to protest the disengagement of some staff on account of incompetency and under-performance.
“The Management has a performance policy that both unions have agreed to abide as part of the conditions of service and based on this took a decision to engage some staff after series of trainings and grace periods for the affected staff to improve.
“176 staff were found to be performing below the expected level and being a company that believes in due process, we gave the staff three months with proper supervision and mentorship where 70 of them improved leaving 106 staff.
“More training was given with additional three months for the 106 staff to improve. In the cause of engagement, some raised issues of faulty transformers and health challenges which we took into consideration and at the end after several procedural interventions, 32 out of the 176 were found not to be responding as they continuously under-performed in their jobs.
“This is what led to their termination of appointment in line with the condition of service they signed to abide by.
“The policy on performance which was agreed upon by both unions is out to ensure commitment in the interest of the company and the welfare of staff.
“On the issue of 13 months, it’s the bonus we usually pay at the end of the year but due to the financial challenge in the month of January, the Management however agreed to pay the bonus on instalment basis in view of the financial challenge as a result of the service-based tariff.
“On logistics, a lot has been invested by KEDCO on the issue of working tools and logistics and we have packaged more to ensure the smooth running of affairs going forward.
“On the issue of pension deductions raised, there is an existing agreement reached with the same Unions that we would continue to pay current salary and at least a month outstanding until it is cleared and this is already being implemented, yet, the unions brought it as an issue.
“The Management sees the move by both unions as an attempt to gain public sympathy and divert the attention from issues on the ground. If the company must survive competency and performance must be prioritized in line with the policy and condition of service.”