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Labour replies TCN over National Grid shutdown

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has replied the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) over the shutting down of the National Grid which has put the entire nation into darkness.

CONVERSEER reports that the TCN via a statement signed by the GM Public Affairs, Ndidi Mbah, on Monday, said the Organised Labour shut down the national grid at about 2:19 am.

Responding to the statement, Comrade Joe Ajaero, President of NLC in a press release on Monday evening, 3rd June, said the TCN should have known that such an occurrence was imminent.

Ajaero faulted TCN for not joining the course to fight for a higher living minimum wage just like other organisations.

Read the full press release below:

RE: GRID SHUTDOWN – INDEFINITE NATIONWIDE STRIKE OVER INCONCLUSIVE NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE NEGOTIATIONS AND REFUSAL TO REVERSE ELECTRICITY TARIFF HIKE: NIGERIAN WORKERS CAN NOT BE INTIMIDATED WITH FALSEHOOD

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) categorically states that Nigerian workers will not be intimidated by the management of any organisation or government entity over our rightful decision to withdraw services through the indefinite nationwide strike that commenced earlier this morning. The spreading of outright falsehood to mislead the public instead of working with other stakeholders to resolve the issues raised by Nigerian workers via the NLC and TUC is not helpful in any way. It will rather inflame the anger of the suffering masses who are already burdened by the cruel policies of the federal government.

It is important that we, therefore, address the Press statement by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) where they made false claims regarding the indefinite nationwide strike declared by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC).

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) should understand that the company is not the only company impacted by the massive withdrawal of service across the nation by Nigerian workers. It should, therefore, not make it a TCN affair as other organisations also suffer one breakdown in service or the other as a result of the nationwide industrial action.

The Management of TCN ought to have realised that the NLC and TUC issued a notice to the federal government since the beginning of May 2024 on the issues of non-completion of the National Minimum Wage negotiation exercise and passage into Law and the vexatious hike in electricity tariff. We had demanded a completion of the Wage setting process and a reversal of the hike in electricity tariff back to N66/kwh without any positive response from the government.

We had thought that a responsible and proactive Management or organisation would have anticipated the impact of any nationwide strike on its operation and would have joined other stakeholders in urging the federal government to meet the demands of Nigerian workers. Unfortunately, the TCN was not responsive enough and could, therefore, not take adequate steps to assist government avert the indefinite nationwide strike. Perhaps, TCN is not deeply worried about the plight of Nigerian workers who suffer in penury as a result of their poor pay thus decided not to take any positive action. In any case, we are crying because government policies have impoverished us and made living exceedingly difficult.

One wonders whether TCN’s management needs education on the dynamics of industrial action. It is not true that anybody was manhandled by us in any TCN location. Maybe, TCN in its effort to scuttle the strike tried to force workers to be at work not realising the resolve of all workers to stay away. Why would the grid not go down when the workers who operate them decide to withdraw their service? That is how it works and it further demonstrates that without workers, no wheel can turn; no work can take place anywhere.

Nigerian workers led by the NLC and TUC have exercised due caution and unusual patience in our engagement with our social partners and this restraint has been grossly abused unfortunately which has led us to the present impasse. Trying to buck pass instead of accepting blame and taking necessary steps to put its house in order will not allow the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) make discernible progress. We would like the Organisation to take adequate measures to ensure that it discharges its responsibilities to Nigerians especially the Electricity sector instead of dissipating its energy on trying to insult Nigerian workers by its deliberate peddling of falsehood.

We have been duly informed that the TCN management has resorted to the use of the military in its effort at intimidating and harassing workers in its employ who are carrying out their lawful and democratic duties at various TCN plants around Nigeria. We warn that the Management of TCN would be held liable for any injury inflicted on any worker by their resort to the use of the powers of the military. It is also important that we inform TCN that deploying military men to its locations is a clear abuse and insult on the military especially in a democracy. We are sure that members of the military so misused by this deployment are not happy with the management and the authorities who have authorised the deployment.

The NLC and TUC remain steadfast in itheircommitment to the emancipation of downtrodden Nigerians and will persist in the struggle for a fair and just living wage, as well as the reversal of the excessive electricity tariff hike. We call on all Nigerians to stand in solidarity with us as we demand the implementation of policies that prioritise the well-being of the people. We will not back down and we will not give in to any blackmail, intimidation or harassment.

We use this opportunity to appreciate all Nigerians for their solidarity on the first day of this indefinite nationwide engagement and call on them as we move into the second day of this struggle to come out in numbers and join the nationwide industrial action. It is our collective struggle and together, we can throw off the shackles that have kept us marooned in the cesspit of massive and excruciating suffering.

Let us meet again at the barricades! We can collectively assist the government to govern our nation better in such a way that the majority benefits from their policies and programmes.

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Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom is an experienced Journalist, Blogger and Writer with several years of experience. His stories are based on community development and have brought positive change across board.

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