Workers fire minister and demand action in 14 days

The National Union of Electrical Employees (NUEE) and the Senior Staff Association of Electrical and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) on Monday stopped their business activities at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Power in Abuja.

They blocked the Minister of Energy, Adebayo Adelabu, and other workers, preventing access to the Power House building in Maitama district.

This action coincided with the Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) issuing an ultimatum to the Federal Government to reverse the recent increase in electricity tariffs by May 31, 2024.

Unions condemned the fare increase, calling it unfair and burdensome, and demanded an immediate reversal to alleviate the economic hardships faced by the masses.

Igwebike Dominic, acting general secretary of NUEE, said the closure would continue until the government addresses their demands or calls a meeting with the unions.

In a letter to Minister Adelabu dated May 20, 2024, the unions criticized the government for making damaging decisions, such as liquidating the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), without consulting stakeholders.

The unions accused the ministry and the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) of ignoring critical stakeholders and unilaterally increasing tariffs by around 300 per cent without dialogue.

They also criticized the proposal to review workers’ salaries as insufficient.

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The unions detailed several grievances, including the deduction of eight per cent of TCN’s revenue as technical losses and a monthly deduction of N2 billion from TCN’s account, which they said were political measures to undermine TCN.

They called for an end to all deductions from TCN’s income and demanded that these funds be returned to TCN immediately.

They also insisted that sector personnel receive discounts on electricity and that Gencos and Discos allow unionization according to the Labor Law.

The unions vowed to resist any attempt to privatize the sector’s infrastructure for political gain and demanded the reversal of the tariff increase and a review of workers’ salaries.