Lagos - Two unions in the electricity sector have threatened to boycott a committee that will be set up by the Ministry of Power on the payment of their severance benefits.
The unions are the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC).
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, on Tuesday announced that a committee would be inaugurated for the payment of the severance benefits.
Mr Joe Ajaero, NUEE’s General Secretary, in his reaction told newsmen on Tuesday in Lagos that the workers might boycott the committee.
Ajaero said that the committee was not the same as the one set up by the Federal Government.
He said that the ministry was setting up staff identification and verification committee as against government technical and implementation committee which had start the process to ensure accurate computation of workers.
He said that the union received a letter from the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) which disclosed that only N45 billion was available to pay workers’ entitlements and that the remaining would be paid when money was available.
``With the information reaching the leadership of the in-house unions in PHCN, the inauguration of the committee today, March 12, 2013, may be boycotted by the workers” Ajaero said.
Mr Bede Opara, SSAEAC’s President, said that the Technical Committee comprising Alexander Forbes, BPE, PHCN and the in-house unions, should be allowed to continue with their responsibility.
Opara said that the salary scale used in computing gratuity as at June 2012 was not PHCN’s salary scale as agreed with technical and negotiation team under the leadership of the Secretary to Government of the Federation.
He said that the souvenir entitlement was also omitted in computation of total entitlements as agreed with Hassan Sumonu’s Committee, in compliance with the 2010 condition of service.
The president said that the committee set by the government needed to address the variables used in the formula for calculating the interest, inflation, discount rates and life expectancy of each staff which were calculated in error.
``Five per cent is used as inflation rate on pension increase, instead of current rate of 12.5 per cent, 14 per cent for discount rate,
``The data used for all staff are not correct in addition to unclear assumed life expectancy of each worker,’’ Opara said.
He advised the ministry to ensure that all labour issues are addressed to enable the workers to get their entitlements on time.