On Tuesday, Nigeria’s power generation fell by 502.7 megawatts as members of the National Union of Electricity Employees and their counterparts in the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies grounded the Transmission Company of Nigeria’s nationwide operations.
On Monday, power generation on the national grid recorded an off-peak of 2,551.7MW and rose to a peak of 4,688.6MW the same day, but this dropped to 4,185.9MW at 6 a.m. on Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, members of NUEE and SSAEAC picketed TCN offices across the country, shutting down operations and threatening an indefinite strike beginning today (Wednesday).
During a protest at TCN’s headquarters in the Federal Capital Territory, Kolade Ayodele, the NUEE Secretary in charge of the Abuja, Niger, Nasarawa, and Kogi Liaison Office, said TCN’s board, which included the power minister, had broken agreements reached with the unions.
“The action today is happening all over Nigeria, not just in Abuja,” he said. We have rules for a reason. There is a service condition that binds the unions and management together. The action is being held by NUEE and SSAEAC, as you can see.
“The (TCN) board issued a directive that violates the terms of service, which is why we are here to picket them.” This is a warning; if nothing is done, we will suspend our services nationwide tomorrow (Wednesday).
“This means there will be a complete shutdown.” All TCN offices in Nigeria are currently under lock and key. They wanted to transport the minister’s vehicle today, but we had already locked the office and said no. They can’t carry the vehicle, which is even better because the minister is on the board.”
According to Ayodele, an agreement was reached in 2019 for the Market Operator of TCN to pay some money to the staff of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, “but they refused to pay the money up until now.”
“The agreement was signed in 2019, and the government directed the TCN Market Operator to pay, but they have refused,” he added. There is also an Electricity Reform Act, which the Federation’s Head of Civil Service is violating.
“If there is an Act, it supersedes any circular, but the head of service is now bringing a kangaroo circular stating that those who have previously worked in PHCN are no longer eligible for employment.”
“When they privatized, those who worked for five years got paid for five years, and many of them are still young.” So you don’t want them to work anywhere at all? These are the major concerns.”
The NUEE official stated that if the government and TCN agreed to listen to the union, there would be no problem, but “if they refuse to listen today (Tuesday), then we will have to withdraw our services by tomorrow (Wednesday).”
Ayodele stated that he could not state the exact amount owed to union workers, but that an agreement was reached in December 2019 and that it must be followed.
When asked how long the strike would last, he said, “For as long as the issue is not resolved.”
TCN’s spokesperson, Ndidi Mbah, had yet to respond to an inquiry about what the transmission company was doing in response to the demands and threats of the electricity unions.
Furthermore, NUEE General Secretary, Joe Ajaero, told our correspondent that no positive response had been received from the government as of Tuesday night, but that the Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba, had pleaded for two weeks to address the situation.
“Based on the foregoing, we may be forced to continue with this action by Wednesday, August 17, 2022, with total service withdrawal,” he said.
“However,” Ajaero continued, “the union remains open to decisive discussions with relevant actors in order to offer solutions to the issues raised and avert the sector’s total collapse.”