Two members of the National Union of Electricity Employees were on Tuesday brutalised during a protest by the union against casualisation, indiscriminate sacking and drastic reduction of salaries by the management of Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited, Kainji/Jebba Hydro Power Plant.
The victims, Mr. Suleiman Mohammed and Mr. Yusuf Garba, were allegedly beaten up by senior security personnel of the company.
While Muhammed sustained injuries in his leg, Garba was hit on the forehead.
Leaders of the union, who spoke to journalists, decried the hardship and suffering the workers had been subjected to.
Some of the labour leaders include the Deputy President, National Union of Electricity Employees, Mr. Aliyu Mshelinga; Assistant General Secretary, NUEE, North-West, Mr. Moses Amedu, and the Zonal Organising Secretary, Generation and Transmission, NUEE, North Zone, Mr. Godwin Eyurentosanren.
Mshelinga decried alleged unfriendly labour practices by the company and asked the company’s management to respect labour laws and regulations.
Mshelinga, who said no fewer than 300 members of the union participated in the protest, alleged that the management of the firm had sacked at least 400 workers since the company took over the operations of the power plant.
He said, “We have come to protest the behaviour of the management of Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited. From 2013 when this company was handed over to the so-called investors, the management has been trating everybody in the company like a slave.
“We have tried all we could to talk to the management, but the management staff have refused. The company has been sacking workers on a daily basis.
“The senior people in the company refused to comply with the laid down rules and regulations of this country.
“Being a very responsible and organised union, we have acted with maturity to make sure that we come to a reasonable conclusion, but the management staff have rebuffed our efforts.
“Every worker you see in this company is working under fear because when you come to office in the morning, you do not know whether you will close with your colleagues or they will sack you. There is no condition of service; nobody knows the policy of the company. You do not know your rights. We say things cannot continue like this.
“During privatisation, this company had about 600 workers, but today, it has about 130. The ones the management retained, they casualised them.
“Somebody that was earning N300,000 or N400,000 in the past, now earns N50,000.
“They brutalised two of our members, who wanted to pass through the other gate. A top security man in the company broke our union member’s head and injured another in the leg. We are taking it up within the legal framework.”
Amedu, said by privatising the power companies, Nigerians leaders had given out their heritage to a few individuals.
According to him, the new owners of the plant do not know what to do with it.
He said, “The workers are here suffering and receiving a paltry sum. We are saying no to such.”
Eyurentosanren stated that the union wrote to the police and army authorities about their protest, adding that there was no need for the two union members to be brutalised.
He said, “We demand that the company should sack the security officer that brutalised our officials.
“We also demand that the company should address our observations and concerns on labour issues.
“If the company does not bulge and address our demands, we will occupy this place until they come from Abuja to meet us.”
Efforts by journalists to get the response of the management of the company proved abortive as they were not allowed entry into the company.
Calls by our correspondent to a top official of Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited, Mr. Muftau Alaya, did not connect.