AEDC Strike: Workers oblige Gov’t, suspends action awaiting interim measures

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AEDC Strike: Workers oblige Gov’t, suspends action awaiting interim measures

The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) suspended the industrial action it commenced on Monday over unpaid entitlements after meeting and signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the federal government.

Government officials who signed the MoU with the union included: the Minister of State for Power, Mr Goddy Jeddy Agba; the Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Engr Sanusi Garba; and the Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr Alex Okoh while the General Secretary, NUEE, Mr Joe Ajeiro and the Chairman, FCT NUEE, Godfrey Aba signed on the union’s side.

According to Godfrey Aba, chairman of NUEE  Abuja, the MOU was signed based on the promise by the government officers that interim measures would be put in place today (Tuesday) and that payments will commence within 21 days for those who are qualified to get such payment.

The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) on Monday shut down the AEDC indefinitely over outstanding payment of about N41 billion escrowed in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), following the announcement of the development at the AEDC headquarters in Abuja by the union’s FCT chairman, Godfrey Aba.

He said, “the industrial action will be withdrawn only when our demands are met”.

The union leader said the action would culminate in a power outage in all AEDC franchise areas that include but are not limited to the FCT, Kogi, Niger, and Nasarawa states.

Aba said the union expected that the Federal Ministry of Power would have intervened before the strike started.

“Since they have not done that, we are still waiting for them to liaise with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure this money is released so that not only our workers will receive their entitlements, our customers will also begin to enjoy better services,” he said.

Asked how much AEDC owed the union, Aba said: “It is about N40 billion. They (CBN) are supposed to release N2.5 billion on monthly basis. And it is now getting to two years.”

The union leader recalled that in 2019, the CBN escrowed the accounts of the power distribution companies (DisCos) and there was an agreement that the apex bank released N2.5 billion monthly to the company.

According to him, apart from salaries,  AEDC could no longer pay its workers their pension, checkup dues and cooperative deductions, among others.

The union accused the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) of standing aloof in the midst of the crisis. NUEE also accused CBN of planning to remove the current owners of the company.

The union members carried placards bearing various inscriptions at the gate of AEDC to show their grievances.

Some of the placards read: “CBN, release approved NERC intervention fund to AEDC”; “Non-remittance of 20 months pension”; “Release thrift/cooperative deductions for eight months,” among others.

Meanwhile, the management of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company has apologised to its customers for the inconvenience and disruption the industrial actions might be causing them, assuring that in no time the issue at stake would be resolved.

This was even after the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) had announced that though it had enough power in its stock to the wheel, it was stopping bulk power delivery at all AEDC load centres due to non-evacuation being witnessed at those centres as a result of the strike that crippled all operations of the company.

AEDC Strike: Workers oblige Gov’t, suspends action awaiting interim measures

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