Blackout across Nigeria- National Union of Electricity Workers suspends strike for 2 weeks

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Electricity firms told customers to expect outages.

Major Nigerian cities including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, were left in darkness Wednesday after electricity workers began a strike over welfare issues.

The National Union of Electricity Workers (NUEE) announced the strike on Tuesday during a protest at the Transmission Company Of Nigeria’s headquarters in Abuja.

Electricity distribution companies told customers that there will be power outages as a result of the strike.

“The Abuja Electricity Distribution Plc (AEDC) wishes to inform its distinguished Customers that the interruption of the power supply being experienced across its franchise areas is due to the ongoing industrial issues between the NUEE and the TCN,” AEDC said in a notice.

The company said they were working to ensure that a mutual and amicable settlement is attained and power is restored.

The Eko Electricity Distribution Company said the industrial action by NUEE led to the disruption of power supply to electricity consumers across the nation.

“In the meantime, we would like to reassure our esteemed customers that we are currently working with the relevant regulatory authorities and the parties involved to reach an amicable resolution and avert the strike action,” it said.

Kaduna electricity firm said, “Supply shall be restored as soon as the contending issues are resolved.”

The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company gave the same message to its customers.

“Following the industrial strike action embarked upon by the NUEE at TCN power stations, operations across the franchise area of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company PLC (EEDC) have been disrupted,” the company said in a statement.

The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company and the Ikeja distribution company also passed similar messages to their customers.

Officials of the Ministry of Power and Ministry of Labour and Employment met with union officials for hours on Wednesday.

The TCN said the national grid was shut down at 3:01 pm after several 330kV transmission lines and 33kV feeder lines across the power system network were switched off by the striking workers.

The Demands

The workers are protesting a directive that workers in acting capacity who should to assistant general managers must appear for promotion interviews.

They also complain about the failure of the relevant authorities to pay former PHCN staff as agreed in December 2019.

Electricity workers suspend strike for two weeks

The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has suspended its nationwide strike for two weeks.

The union made the decision on Wednesday after a meeting with Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment.

Confirming the development to TheCable on Wednesday night, Joe Ajaero, general secretary, NUEE, said power supply would be restored immediately.

“The strike has been suspended for two weeks. From this night, there will be power supply,” he said.

Electricity workers had planned to embark on a nationwide strike to protest the non-payment of outstanding arrears owed to former workers of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), the suspension of conditions of service, and career path for workers, among others.

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) appealed to the workers to suspend the proposed strike, assuring that steps had been taken to resolve the issues.

But earlier on Wednesday, in a video seen by TheCable, workers were seen shutting down a power station in Abuja as they chanted solidarity songs.

TCN also confirmed the shutdown of national electric power by electric workers.

Consequently, Ngige invited the striking electricity workers to an emergency meeting for negotiations.

He said after exhaustive deliberations on the issues in dispute, the parties agreed to constitute a bipartite committee to look into the grievances of the electricity workers and report back in two weeks.

On his part, Chike Ben, president general, Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Workers (SSAEC), while briefing journalists after the meeting, thanked the minister of labour and the minister of state for power for “their maturity in handling the issues that we brought up”.

“These issues should have been tackled earlier on if there was rightful communication with all parties. But well, as we have said, we will be giving two weeks to which to report back to the full house and we assure the nation that such crisis will be nipped in the bud before it escalates,” he said.

Speaking on when power supply would be restored, Ben said: “Yes. You are going to have light today.”

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