Darkness Looms as Electricity Workers Draw Battle Line With TCN
The face-off between the management of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) may snowball into a nationwide darkness if none of the parties refuses to blink.
The electricity workers’ senior staff association is threatening to down tools if their President, Comrade Chris Obi, who was sacked by the TCN management, is not returned to his seat as General Manager, Special Duties, a position he held until his appointment was suddenly terminated by the managing director of TCN, Umar Mohammed. The TCN boss is said to have had a running battle with Okonkwo over his union activities.
The SSAEAC general secretary, Abubakar Dubagari, who issued the strike threat in a statement last weekend, said the union will down tools if the sack letter issued to its President, Chris Okonkwo, is not reversed because the latter had not been issued a query or found wanting in his line of duty
Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), managing director, Umar Mohammed, had on April 24 issued the letter dismissing Chris Okonkwo. Orient Energy Review (OER) gathered however that although there had been disagreements between the TCN boss and the union president, the sack letter was not preceded by any query or complaint of any infraction.
The sack letter read: “After servicing TCN for a period of about six years, please be informed that your political posting had lapsed by June 11, 2018, and you should have ceased from coming to work from June 12, 2018. Consequently, you are to stop coming to work with immediate effect.” But the SSAEAC is arguing that their president’s sack did not follow laid down public service provisions.
The SSAEAC secretary warned the Transmission Company of Nigeria to withdraw the sack letter. The union vowed to mobilize all legal and industrial machinery at their disposal to resume pending industrial action. They declared that the termination of the appointment was not within the prerogative of Mohammed.
According to them, it is within the purview of the minister of power to relieve Okonkwo of his duties, subject to laid down rules and procedures. “His appointment, like any other employee of TCN, was anchored on the public service rules of 60 years of age or 35 years of service and does not carry tenure. His service with TCN cannot be said to have lapsed since June 11, 2018,” Dubagari said.
The union secretary recalled that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Federal Ministry of Power, Trade Unions Congress of (TUC) and other bodies intervened. He reminded the TCN that parties were advised to maintain the status quo. He appealed for caution, adding that the union was keen on a harmonious working relationship with the government.
Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja