The Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Kano state chapter has joined the staff of Kano Electricity Distribution Company, KEDCO to protest non-payment of allowances and arrears.
The NLC has warned the management of the company to as a matter of urgency address the 13 demands of its staff or the union would resort to destabilise the operations of the firm until the demands are met.
Addressing newsmen when he led the staff of KEDCO to picket the company’s headquarters in Kano on Monday, the state’s NLC chairman, Comrade Kabiru Ado Minjibir said they converged at the firm’s office to press home the 13 demands their members.
According to him, points of their demands are payment of 13-month salary of 2019 and 2020, stopping selective promotions and that the condition of service of KEDCO must be followed strictly henceforth.
“We are also demanding the remittance of 48 months arrears deducted from members and we will not condone unlawful dismissal of workers on the pretext of low performance.
“The management of KEDCO is hereby called upon to address these urgently, otherwise, we want to assure them that this is the beginning of our protest.
“Picketing is one of the constitutional rights of labour. After picketing, if the right thing was not done, we will continue to push pressure on the management until the right thing is done. We will destabilize the company until these demands are addressed,” Minijibir declared.
He then queried the management on how it wants its workers to perform when their welfare is not taken good care of.
“How does the management of KEDCO wants its staff to perform whole their welfare is not taken care of and they are not provided with necessary essential logistics. This is against the condition of services,” he stated.
He, therefore, stated that “We want the management to urgently treat these issues. Let me use this to sound a warning to the company management that if all these were not addressed with urgency, the NLC will continue to destabilise the operations of KEDCO until the right thing is done.’
The NLC chairman also warned private companies in the state to desist from sacking workers who are tested positive for COVID-19, describing the act as unconstitutional and uncalled for, threatening that the union would embark on destabilising such companies until such workers are re-engaged.
In a Swift reaction, the management of KEDCO has said that the company would not tolerate incompetency and under-performance in its franchise.
In a statement by Ibrahim Sani Shawai, Head, Corporate Communications, KEDCO, the management stated this following the stay-at-home notice issued to workers by the Senior Staff Association and Allied Company, SSAEAC and National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, to protest the disengagement of some staff on account of incompetency and under-performance.
He said the management has a performance policy that both unions have agreed to abide by as part of the conditions of service and based on this took a decision to engage some staff after series of training and grace periods for the affected staff to improve.
Shawai explained that “176 staff were found to be performing below the expected level and being a company that believes in due process, we gave the staff three months with proper supervision and mentorship were 70 of them improved leaving 106 staff.
“More training was given with additional three months for the 106 staff to improve. In the cause of engagement, some raised issues of faulty transformers and health challenges which we took into consideration and at the end after several procedural interventions, 32 out of the 176 were found not to be responding as they continuously under-performed in their jobs.
“This is what led to their termination of appointment in line with the condition of service they signed to abide by.
“The policy on performance which was agreed upon by both unions is out to ensure commitment in the interest of the company and the welfare of staff.
On the issue of 13 months, Shawai explained that “it’s the bonus we usually pay at the end of the year but due to the financial challenge in the month of January, the Management, however, agreed to pay the bonus on installment basis in view of the financial challenge as a result of the service-based tariff.”
On logistics, according to Shawai, “a lot has been invested by KEDCO on the issue of working tools and logistics and we have packaged more to ensure the smooth running of affairs going forward.
He also clarified on the issue of pension deductions raised, saying, “there is an existing agreement reached with the same Unions that we would continue to pay current salary and at least a month outstanding until it is cleared and this is already being implemented, yet, the unions brought it as an issue.
“The Management sees the move by both unions as an attempt to gain public sympathy and divert the attention from issues on the ground. If the company must survive competency and performance must be prioritized in line with the policy and condition of service,” He said in the statement.
It was observed that hundreds of the staff had besieged the company’s headquarters, holding placards with different inscription such as “we demand payment of mileage allowance”, ” We demand payment of 18 months pension arrears “, among others.