Organized Labour has declared a ‘war’ with the new owners of the electricity distribution in the country, known as electricity distribution companies (DISCOs). Leaders and members of the labour unions have begun disruption of the services of the new owners, including power plants in seven states over alleged extortionist tariff without power to Nigerians, among others.
The labour leaders have since last week, threatened to shut down Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, Benin Electricity Distribution Company, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, Jos Electricity Distribution Company, Transcorp Electricity Ugheli, Egbin Power Plc; Geregu Power Plc, and Olorunshogo Power Plc.
Other grievances of labour are perceived de-unionisation of workers by the management of the DISCOs and victimisation of labour leaders by the new investors.
Meanwhile, action has since started in Ogun, Oyo, Kwara, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo and Edo Delta and other South-South states.
The picketing is being coordinated by state chapters of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and civil society allies of labour.
The aggrieved workers chanted anti-government slogans and displayed placards with various inscriptions such as “Labour says no to casualisation of workers; we say no to crazy bill without supply; the investors have failed to add value to electricity supply, union is the only way, 6 months after privitisation, Nigerians are still in darkness, “People that worked for 10years in electricity industry without engagement. What is our fate”; “No to anti union stance of the investors”; “No progress can come with Darlington in charge” and many others.
The South-West Organising Secretary, Richard Kedee declared that, the union would not compromise on members’ rights, and would ensure that all their entitlements were paid.
“Our protest is to senitize Nigerans on the deceit of Federal Government,that they have concluded payment of all disengaged staff and pensioners. There are still leftover. The so-called investors gave impression that they have all it takes to fix things right,but we now discovered it is a deceit. The investors have no capacity to move the sector forward. There is even attempt to destroy the union,Labour law approves unionism, and we stand by that. Our demand is also that those disengaged illegally must be recalled” Kedee stated.