- Striking Workers Disrupt Power Firms’ Operations
Striking workers under the aegis of the United Labour Congress of Nigeria on Tuesday disrupted the operations of some power distribution companies, as part of measures to make the industrial action effective.
The strike, which commenced on Monday, has led to the shutdown of fuel depots in Apapa, Lagos and other parts of the country, threatening the supply of petroleum products to filling stations.
The Chief Executive Officer, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, an umbrella body for the Discos, Mr. Azu Obiaya, said, “We have got reports that some offices have been shut down by the labour people and subsequently reopened.
“They (power firms) are just being prevented from doing their work since their offices have been closed down by the labour efforts.”
Obiaya, who said the development would affect the ability of the power firms to service their customers, hoped that the strike would not affect electricity supply.
“The wires and cables are not necessarily in their offices or business units. So, from that perspective, the impact will be minimal. It is actually the everyday business affairs that go on in the offices that will be more impacted,” he stated.
In a public announcement to its customers, Ikeja Electric said, “In view of the current strike by the ULC, please note that Ikeja Electric is not part of the strike.
“However, members of the union may have disrupted operations in some of our offices; so we urge you to kindly bear with us as we work to ensure normalcy. In the interim, you can reach us through our available online channels and existing vendor outlets.”
The ULC had said it hoped to cause total blackout nationwide, cut off petroleum product supplies, cripple all modes of transportation within the nation, and disrupt banking operations.
Hopes of a quick resolution of the strike were dashed on Tuesday following the refusal of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers to participate in a meeting convened by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, in Abuja.
NUPENG, an affiliate of the ULC, had directed its members to commence a strike action on Monday, leading to the shutdown of fuel depots across the country.
The minister had invited NUPENG leaders to a meeting at his office, but the union leaders, led by its National President, Achese Igwe, failed to show up.
It was learnt that the minister waited for many hours expecting the labour leaders to arrive for the parley, but they did not turn up.
A source in the union stated that it had no business with Ngige, noting that the government should negotiate with the parent union, the ULC, if it was serious about resolving the strike.
The source explained that the oil workers were aware of the government’s alleged plan to divide the ULC by inviting only NUPENG officials to the meeting.