Electricity workers strike worsens blackout in four northern states


Electricity workers strike worsens blackout in four northern states

Workers of the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company have begun an industrial action, leaving residents of Kaduna, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi states in darkness.


The workers, under the aegis of the Nigerian Union of Electricity Employees, commenced an indefinite strike on Tuesday after staging a protest over what they termed unjust treatment and other pending industrial disputes with the management of the company.


It was learnt the workers were aggrieved over six years’ unremitted pension, non-payment of the death benefits of deceased staff of the company, non-payment of exit package, unjust disengagement of seven staff of the company in Zaria, an alleged plan to sack over 1,000 workers of the company among others.

But the management of Kaduna Disco condemned the industrial action in a statement issued by its Head, Corporate Communication, Abdulazeez Abdullahi, describing the action as “completely unjustified”


Abdulazeez said, “For the union to choose this path at the very start of the Holy month of Ramadan and inflict more discomfort on hapless Nigerians by embarking on an ill-advised strike and forcing staff from carrying out their legitimate duties says a lot about its motive.”


Abdulazeez disclosed that the union’s demand for payment of outstanding pension arrears “is part of the historic debts accumulated under two previous managements.


“One wonders why the union failed to prioritise the payments then until now. This is a clear indication that the union has other motives yet unknown to us”.

According to him, since the assumption of office of Mr Umar Hashidu as the new chief executive officer of the Disco in January this year, he had demonstrated a willingness to work with the unions to move Kaduna Electric forward.


“He has held a series of meetings with them to get their buy-in into his plans to turn the company around. It, therefore, beggars belief why NUEE has chosen the route of industrial action instead of coming round to discuss whatever perceived grievance it may have,” he stated


Abdulazeez recalled that the “staff enjoyed a salary increment in the CEO’s very first month in office, in addition to a commitment to pay salaries when due,” saying that he has also committed to a plan to offset all liabilities as more resources become available.

This strike action does no good to anyone but some individuals whose motive is still unclear. We urge our esteemed customers to disregard it and go about their dealings with us unhindered,” he stated.


Kaduna Electric had in February announced a 10 per cent increment in salaries of its employees, despite the company’s N110bn debt.


The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, in January, dissolved the board of directors of Kaduna Electric over its inability to pay N110bn debt it owes the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry.


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