Published On: Wed, May 15th, 2019

’TUC, SSAEAC in flagrant disregard of court order to picket TCN’

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By Etuka Sunday

The Management of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has said that the action of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) to picket TCN was in flagrant and brazen disregard of the court order.
In a statement issued by the General Manager, Public Affairs, TCN, Ndidi Mbah said, a court order issued by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria in Suit No. NICN/ABJ/121/2019 upon application by TCN and duly served on the parties, restrained TUC and SSAEAC from picketing the company.
The statement quoted the General Manager, Legal/Company Secretary, Mrs. Fatima Lawan to have stated that the Court specifically restrained the defendants in the suit (SSAEAC and TUC) ‘from picketing or any industrial action, or further industrial action against the claimant pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice’.
“The contemptuous picketing of the TCN CHQs office by the TUC and SSAEC is an affront on the authority of the Court,” she said.
The statement noted that, the unlawful picketing by SSAEAC and TUC was violent as some staff of TCN were grievously injured by SSAEAC and TUC members and are currently receiving medical attention.
TCN said, “the TUC was misled by Comrade Chris Okonkwo, current President of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) to serve notice of picketing on the company on the flimsy excuse that there is no industrial harmony in the Company.
“However, real motive of the SSAEAC President is to settle scores with the TCN branch of his union, having lost the support of TCN staff in his misguided bid to use the Association to advance his selfish interest.
“Comrade Okonkwo lost the support of TCN staff after they discovered he mismanaged their superannuation fund and the monthly subscriptions from members of the Association.
“The TCN Branch of SSAEAC has made this act of misconduct by Okonkwo a subject of investigation by EFCC.
“Comrade Chris Okonkwo, out of sheer mischief, took the position that the TCN Branch of SSAEAC has the backing of TCN Management in the call for his probe by EFCC.
“Management believes that the actions of SSAEEC is an attempt to sabotage the successes recorded by the Company.
“TCN under the current Management has successfully expanded the capacity of the Grid from 5,000MW, when it took office in February 2017, to 8,100MW in December 2018.
“It is on record that TCN receives less than 30% of its revenue from the Discos; yet she has been able to attain this unprecedented stride in Grid expansion largely due to staff support.
“Using in-house capacity, TCN has installed transformers and strung lines with associated transmission system devices in the last two years more than had ever been achieved in the previous 15 years before this administration.
“Unlike before, TCN – using in-house capacity – has prepared projects and secured more than $1.6 Billion from multilateral donors. This is meant to reinforce the network across the nation to N-1 Reliability standards.
“TCN has also achieved a level of system frequency control never experienced in the nation’s history and this was recently commended by West African Power Pool (WAPP).
“Current TCN management has been promoting staff more than it had ever done before in its history; we are working assiduously to enhance the company’s revenue base so we can pay better salary.
“Management wants to use this medium to call on staff to please ensure they remain law-abiding amid the unwarranted provocation by Comrade Okonkwo and his sponsors,” it said.
Meanwhile, the TUC has vowed to continue to picket offices of the TCN despite attack on its members by people suspected to be thugs hired by the management to halt the picketing.
President of TUC, Comrade Bala Bobboi Kaigama, who was reported to have disclosed this in a Press Conference yesterday in Abuja, said the attack on its members during the picketing exercise on Monday was illegal as the laws of the land allow workers to picket their employers.
Kaigama said it is within the right of workers to picket her employer in the case of unresolved dispute, describing as primitive the action of the Managing Director of TCN to hired suspected thugs to attack workers who are on a peaceful protest/picketing.
Kaigama said the demands of the workers are that the existing conditions of service be maintain while calling for investigation into the monumental corruption going on in the organisation, stop harassment and intimidation of the union members and release promotion to the deserving workers rather than to only those who are loyal to the Managing Director.
“We are insisting that the picketing of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) must continue until our demands are met. The Managing Director of TCN is behaving as he is even bigger than the President that appointed him.
“We also want an urgent investigation into the attacked on our members by suspected thugs at the premises of TCN. What we were doing is legal why should a sine human being hired suspected thugs against peaceful workers.
“The monumental corruption in the company is alarming; we want investigation into the finances of the company under the MD”, he said.
Comrade Kaigama said the union has written to the Inspector General of Police, through the FCT Commissioner of Police with a view of bringing the culprits to book, adding that the Managing Director of TCN should be held responsible should anything go wrong with any members of the union.

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