The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), on Tuesday sealed the premises of Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) in Calabar over controversial sack of 43 workers.
The electricity workers’ union in a statement issued through its Cross Rivers’ State Chairman, Mr Daniel Asuquo-Ita, said the decision to seal the Calabar premises of the company, was due to “unfair treatment and unwarranted sack of the workers.’’
He alleged that the management of PHEDC of sacked the workers without paying them their entitlements. “We decided to picket the premises of the company because the management is disobeying Nigeria’s labour laws. PHEDC has sacked about 43 workers across the South-South zone and the workers are compelled to collect peanut as entitlements,” Mr. Asuquo-Ita explained.
According to him the management of PHEDC flouted labour laws in dismissing the workers; and NUEE would not allow it get away with it. “This country has its laws and I believe that as citizens of this country we must all obey the laws,” he said, stressing that the premises of the company would remain shut until the sacked workers were recalled. “We must come to a round table conference and the sacked workers should be recalled and their salaries paid. As long as they refused to call us for round table conference, this gate will not be opened,’’ he added.
Reacting to the development, the Public Relations Officer of PHEDC in Calabar, Mr Jonah Iboma, pleaded with the protesting workers, assuring that the matter would be deliberated by the board of the company with a view to resolving all contending issues amicably.
However, one of the affected workers, Mr Eyo Ekpenyong, disclosed that he had worked for PHEDC as Chief Security Officer for 14 years and was unduly laid off. “They sacked me without paying me anything including severance allowance. I have served them for almost 14 years. The union should assist us so that PHEDC can give us at least three months salary since they don’t want to give us severance package,” he said.
By Olisemeka Obeche (with agency reports)