By Shuaib Sadiq
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC) on Monday in Kaduna clashed over the former’s attempt to picket the Mando office of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that members of staff of the TCN who are also affiliate members of the ULC and some security personnel resisted the attempt of TUC to lockdown the premises of the TCN.
The State Chairman of TUC, Shehu Muhammed, had led members of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) to picket the station.
Muhammed who addressed newsmen at the entrance of Mando transmission substation demanded for the resignation of TCN Managing Director, Alhaji Usman Muhammed.
He said the action was based on the directive of TUC national body and was meant to save TCN and the power sector from collapse.
He said the union had earlier given a statutory notice to government agencies on the MD’s alleged violation of negotiated conditions of service, impunity and destruction of unions .
The state TUC chairman said that the union had uncovered plans by the Minister of Power Works and Housing and TCN Management to sabotage all efforts of the Federal Government to provide stable power supply.
According to the chairman, the TUC has been in the struggle to compel the TCN management to take measures and action to ensure steady power supply in Nigeria for the last 13 months.
“Nigerians should know that there is an agent who is bent on destroying the power sector, it is a national struggle to free Nigerians from hold of UG Mohammed,” he said.
The union also demanded the withdrawal of all administrative queries issued SSAEAC officers, disbandment of illegal COS review committee, and withdrawal of all circulars on labour matters.
It also called for the review of all promotions, transfers and sanctions carried out in the last one year.
The union further called on the TCN management to restore the rights of SSAEAC including rights to membership and release of check off dues to the union.
The union demanded for the institution of disciplinary proceedings against expelled SSAEAC members for gross indiscipline and usurpation of authority.
The TUC equally demanded the management to account for all 735 Containers cleared from the ports, as well as donor funds received since January 2016 among others.
According to the Union, the industrial action would continue until all demands were met.
The union urged the staff to join the fight against the TCN managing director, while calling on the government to hold him responsible for any breakdown of law and order in all TCN stations.
However, the ULC State Chairman, Ephraim James, led other members to block the TUC members from picketing the company, claiming that their action was illegal.
James said the ULC and the in-house staff union NUEE were not informed of the TUC action.
James who is also the state chairman of the NUEE alleged that the TUC was misinformed by Chris Okonkwo, current President of SSAEAC on the issues it raised for the picketing.
According to him, Okonkwo turned to TUC “having lost the support of TCN staff in his misguided bid to use the Association to advance his selfish interest.
”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 the EFCC.”
He claimed that Okonkwo had been colluding with those who are beneficiaries of the previous rots in TCN to sabotage government effort in the power sector.
James insisted that the in-house union, an affiliate of the ULC, would resist the attempt by TUC to picket the Mando substation.