By Chinedu Adonu
ENUGU – LEADERSHIP of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, Enugu State chapter, Monday protested over anti-labour activities and misappropriation of funds by the management of Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, in Enugu.
The unionists who marched from New heaven junction to TCN office chanting solidarity songs, requested for the immediate removal of the Managing Director of the company, Mr, Gur Umaru Mohammed for his highhandedness on labour issues.
The aggrieved unionists who were earlier hindered from coming close to the gate of the company by a squad of policemen drafted from the New Heaven police station, who barricaded the entrance with police vehicles, had to brake the barrier to have access to the gate to the office.
The protesting unionists enumerated in leaflets and banners their demands and grievances which include that the DG withdrew queries issued to SSAEAC officers, disband the illegal COS review committee, review all circulars on labour matters, restore the right of SSAEAC, including check off dues, membership processing, vehicle and other support given to other union or illegally given to expelled SSAEAC members.
They also demanded that the reconciliation of SSAEAC, checkoff remittances since January 2017; institution of disciplinary proceedings against expelled SSAEAC members for gross indiscipline and usurpation of authority; account of all 735 containers cleared from the ports and to account for all donor monies received since January 2016.
The Chairman of TUC, Enugu chapter, Comrade Chukwuma Igbokwe, who addressed journalists condemned the leadership of TCN for deducting the check off dues of a staff who has not signed off his/her contract and misappropriation.
He disclosed that the picketing was a national issue, saying that it’s going on in all the zonesÀ where TUC had offices in Nigeria.
“Today we are here not just in Enugu because all the zones where they have TCN companies. It’s a national directives from TUC national office that we should picket transmission company of Nigeria in all the zone, its happening same at Port Harcourt, Abuja, Oshogbo, Lagos and so on.
“Practically, we are here because we have tried our possible best, using all measure to see that issue going on, anti-labour activities of the management are resolved amicably. We tried to dialogue over time for them to withdraw incessant queries issued to Senior Staff Association of the commission, victimization of staff.
“We wrote to labour and federal ministry of power to invite TCN for a meeting but to no avail. Today, we are here to tell the world that TCN management is treating our members like slaves, denying them their right and bridging contractual agreements. Worker’s contract agreement are to be kept by the employer, but what we see here is that the employer is abysmally doing anything he likes to the workers.
“He can post staff out and suspend them without due process. We discovered that a lot of corruption is going on here. We discovered that over 730 40ft containers cleared few months ago and he can’t give account of where it is and these are equipment and facilities of TCN.
“The management just 3 days ago issued a circular to stop check of dues of the staff and the law of automatic check off which says upon employment of every worker, deduct checkoff dues and pay direct to the Union he belongs to.
“You can’t on your own stop check off dues of staff that’s not resigning from the office. Even the federal government can’t stop the checkoff dues of the civil servants. Why should one man in a small establishment stop check off dues while President Muhammed Buhari has not checkoff dues of civil servants.
“This man has stepped on the toes of labour and we tried to dialogue with him but to no avail. The person they put in the management of TCN is not doing what he should do and what we are requesting is for him to go.
“This picketing is just the beginning of our action because when we embark on industrial strike, will stop every activities that is going on in TCN and it will effect the economy of the country.
” We are calling on all the relevant authorities and federal government to investigate and relieve him of his duty and bring someone that knows about administration”, Igbokwe said.