Aggrieved sacked workers of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in Bauchi state have expressed their displeasure over non-payment of their long due entitlement.
The PHCN workers under the aegis of Association of Disengaged PHCN Staff Forum of Nigeria on Saturday, lamented the agony they have been facing over the non-payment of their entitlement which is running into five years after which the company was privatized
The workers who embarked on a peaceful protest at the Multi-Purpose Hall, Bauchi, Bauchi State on Saturday, to ventilate their anger, told the newsmen that they have been subjected to abject poverty for over five years due to lack of payment.
They carried placards with various inscriptions such as “Attention, Mr. President, BPE denied our plight (they violated all the agreements between FG and PHCN staff),” “BPE, Release 10% equity shares of PHCN staff” among others.
The Vice President of the Association, Lawal Magini, while speaking on behalf of the sacked workers, bemoaned that more than five years after the privatization of the power sector in Nigeria, the sacked PHCN staff were yet to be paid their outstanding benefits despite series of agreements and promises reached with the government.
He lamented that the outstanding entitlement of the workers yet to be settled include complete nonpayment of some disengaged staff, nonpayment of 7.5% pension component by the government/employers, underpayment to many disengaged staff.
Others were nonpayment of 10% equity share allotted to disengaged PHCN staff after privatization, nonpayment of 16 months arrears as a result of a delay in handing over from July 2012 to October 2013, among many benefits.
Speaking further, he said non-payment of their entitlement had led to serious pains and untold hardships for the sacked workers, especially as most of them can hardly feed their families.
“Due to the nonpayment of these entitlements, we are afflicted with untold hardships as a great number of us can no longer afford to feed our families, take our children to school nor can we afford their medical fees and other basic necessities of life. Life is continually becoming unbearable by the day.
“Those among us who have attended pension age receive only a meager amount that is not near enough due to the nonpayment of the government pension component. Five years down the lane, many of us have died leaving behind helpless orphans and widows”, he lamented.
Magini urged the federal government through its appropriate agencies, the Bureau for Public Enterprises and the Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company, to ensure the immediate payment of severance package to the ex-PHCN staff that are yet to receive a dime despite calls and agitations on the matter.