Protests Rock EEDC Offices Over Anti-Labour Policies, Epileptic Power Supply

By Peter Okutu, Chinonso Alozie & Chinedu Adonu

Scores of workers of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC,  yesterday, picketed some of the offices of EEDC in Owerri, Imo State, over what they described as “anti Labour policies.”

electricity-power

Some of the EEDC offices that were shut down include that of  Royce Road, New Owerri, Orlu and Mbaise.

Augustine Mbakwe, who led the group, listed as one of their grievances, “de-unionization of workers in EEDC.”

According to Mbakwe, EEDC management in the state has made the condition of work too harsh and unbearable for them.

He said: “We are out here today to protest the refusal of EEDC to install metres for Nigerians, arbitrary and crazy billing, indiscriminate sack of workers, intimidation and harassment of workers with security agents.

“In this place, we do not have job security and we are suffering from so many anti labour policies,” he said, adding that the demonstration will last for a week.

In Enugu too

Also yesterday, workers of  EEDC in Enugu marched through Enugu metropolis, protesting against the arbitrary sacking of staff.

The protesters, comprising United Labour Congress, ULC; Trade Union Congress, TUC; National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE and Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, moved around the major streets of Enugu metropolis before stopping at the EEDC office, Okoara Avenue, Abakaliki Road, Enugu.

Some of the placards read:  “We say no to indiscriminate sacking of workers, arbitrary and crazy billing, poor working condition, ritual of burning live cows, high bill, more darkness, no metre for customers,” among others.

Reacting to the protest march, Head of Communication of the company, EEDC, Emeka Eze, condemned the protest, saying they should have embarked on dialogue rather than take the fight to the streets.

Leader of National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, Mr Joe Ajaero, who spoke on behalf of the protesting workers, said the union was on picketing exercise against EEDC for arbitrary sacking of staff.

Ajaero said that the union had met with the required rules before embarking on the picketing.

EEDC, last week, sacked no fewer than 400 staff and replaced them with alleged compromised new staff.

 EEDC reacts

But in a reaction, the leader of Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Applied Company, SSAEAC, Christian Okonkwo, lamented the poor management of the company, saying the sacked staff were not qualified to handle the company.

“They were not qualified to manage the company. They were just collecting money from people without service,” Okonkwo said.

“EEDC embarked on a restructuring exercise last year. This was brought to the attention of representatives of the union at some of our sessions last year. After this exercise, some job positions were abolished as they were no longer relevant; staff were assessed and some of them that could not defend their positions/jobs were eventually disengaged; while we also hired additional staff to beef up our technical and customer service team.

“The decision of the management was in the interest of the organisation and was not in any way meant to witch-hunt any staff; the process was transparent and fair.”

Source: vanguardngr.com

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