Organised Labour has since three days laid siege to the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHED, in Rivers State over alleged unfair labour practices.
However, there were claims yesterday that Soldiers from Bori Camp, in Rives State intimidated and harassed the protesting workers.
Led by national leaders of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, the picketers have since Tuesday shutdown the head office of the distribution company that supplies electricity to most of Niger Delta states. They lamenting that the electricity distribution company had refused to sign the workers condition of service and procedural agreement.
Deputy President of NLC, and General Secretary of NUEE, Joe Ajaero, said: “The electricity workers, Port Harcourt electricity zone which covers Port Harcourt, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Bayelsa states have shut down the headquarters of Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company for refusing to sign workers’ condition of service and procedural agreement.
“That all the electricity companies in the country have signed conditions of service except Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company and organising slave labour here, you don’t work in a place without condition of service, that is where rules of engagement and procedures are stated for the workplace, so there must be industrial democracy in the workplace.
“We started our protest at 12 midnight today and we’ll be here till further notice and if we leave here and these issues are not resolved, we will take a solidarity action nationwide.
“Because of that none signing of conditions of service, a lot of precarious employment is taking place here. In the last three months, they are sighting COVID-19 as excuse for not remitting check off dues.”
He said at least 1,500 of its members who are workers within the company had been affected by the anti labour activities of the management, saying “This is about the 5th tariff increase without factoring salary increase. And service has not improved. Nothing is happening. With this tarrif increase, our members are prone to attacks. Previous tariff increase has led to killing of our members who go out to disconnect and it took place without consultation with labour”
Ajaero added that the Discos had not improved service but had been increasing tariff.