Kaduna electric staff protest over unjust treatment, begin indefinite strike

Staff members of the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company protested and commenced an indefinite strike over alleged injustice and unresolved industrial disputes with the company’s management.

The aggrieved workers, under the aegis of National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, on Tuesday carried placards while blocking the entrance to the company’s headquarters in Kaduna State, preventing both staff and customers from accessing the premises.

One of the key grievances cited by the protesters is the alleged non-remittance of six years’ worth of pension contributions to their beneficiaries, coupled with the non-payment of death benefits to families of deceased staff.

The protesting workers also raised concerns regarding unjust termination of employment of seven staff members in Zaria and purported plans to lay off over 1,000 workers.

The Organizing Secretary, North West of the NUEE, Ayuba Pukat highlighted the dire situation between the workers and the management of the Kaduna Electricity.

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“We are out here to exercise our right as workers of Kaduna Electric because of so many issues on the ground which have to do with our staff welfare.

“The pension deducted from our staff was not remitted for over 72 months and staff are still working. If you go to your pension managers they will tell you your company did not remit. This is a criminal offense, and the license of Kaduna Electric should be seized,” Pukat said.

He further accused management of the electricity distribution company of unjust treatment of some staff members particularly in Zaria.

“Some Zaria staff’s employment were unlawfully terminated last year as a result of malfunctioning of the power equipment in Zaria, leading to the electrocution of 14 residents in Southern Zaria,” Pukat noted.

Head of Corporate Communications for the distribution company, Abdulazeez Abdullah expressed disappointment, describing the action as “uncalled for and injurious to the health of the company.”

Abdullahi reassured the workers that the management had engaged union leaders with the intention to address all pending industrial issues.

He urged the workers to reconsider their stance and suspend the strike to allow for the smooth resumption of business activities.

“We woke up this morning to the news that members of NUEE have locked up our offices. We were shocked because there was no need for it,” Abdullahi stated.

“We have a quarterly meeting scheduled for Wednesday. They have told us about the pension remittances, and there is a plan to settle the backlogs.”

Emphasizing the need for collaboration,  he admitted that the “company is not in a good place right now, but the new MD has promised to turn the company.

“We need all hands to be on deck so that we can forge a way forward for the company,” he added.

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