Minister of Power, Prof. Bart Nnaji, yesterday issued “a second and final warning” to the management of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and its 18 successor companies to pay their workers the enhanced salary package negotiated by labour or risk the anger of the ministry.
The Minister said he was displeased by reports that chief executives of some of the PHCN successor companies have yet to begin full implementation of the 50 per cent increase in staff salary which Government approved for the PHCN staff with effect from June 2011.
The Minister had in a letter to the PHCN executives dated 27 October 2011, reiterated that the federal government not only accepted to pay for the first three months to enable the successor companies to adjust to the new salary structure, but has also made available the funds for immediate payment.
Meanwhile, there are indications that government and the trade union of junior workers in the power sector may be heading for a showdown over the implementation of the new pay.
The ministry had stated that in line with the decisions reached with labour, that only workers who are captured in the ongoing biometric data exercise of PHCN staff members will be paid, to ensure accountability and transparency.
But the leadership of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), on the other hand, wants the payment to be made without verification.
It was gathered that the union’s leadership has decided to call for a strike if all 50,000 PHCN workers were not fully paid before the forthcoming Muslim holidays, with or without verification.
It was also learnt that the NUEE General Secretary, Mr. Joseph Ajaero, said only the casual PHCN workers should be verified, rather than both regular and casual employees.