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LABOUR REJECTS CHINESE TAKE-OVER OF OLORUNSOGO POWER PLANT

By NBF News
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By Victor Ahiuma-young
SENIOR Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, weekend rejected government handover of  Olorunsogo Power Station Phase I, in Ogun State, to SEPCOII, a Chinese company.

SSAEAC, in a statement by its General Secretary, Comrade Abiodun Ogunsegha, argued that the secrecy with which the handover was done last Tuesday, when the nation was observing a public holiday, had vindicated labour's position against the privatisation policy of the government.

The statement noted that there was nowhere such a handover could take place without the knowledge of organised labour and resolution of labour issues as done in decent societies.

According to the statement: 'We read with amazement the visit of the Minister of State, Power, Mr. Nuhu Wya on a public holiday (Eid el-Maloud) 15th February, to handover Olorunsogo Power Station Phase I to SEPCOII company, the builder of the electricity company, for which one Pacific Energy is used as the vehicle to procure license for its operations in Nigeria.

'The handing over was done when labour-related issues in respect of the transfer were neither discussed nor mentioned to workers (Nigerians) who are presently running the plant. The workers and their unions were deliberately kept in the dark during the entire handing over process. We were not consulted at all, as against decent practices.

'Presently the plant has Nigerian engineers managing the various units but by the Minister's action, these Nigerians will soon be replaced with half-baked Chinese.

'Is this the type of privatisation that this nation desires where the process is clothed in secrecy and workers' rights trampled upon?

Gives conditions
'We, therefore, inform the generality of Nigerians that until the government and its agencies engage the representatives of the workers at Olorunsogo Power Plant in dialogue to discuss the modalities of transfer and retention of the workers, and continued retention of 80% of the workforce by Nigerians from time to time, we shall not allow the so called investors to take control of the plant.

'Alternatively, we request that all the Nigerian workers presently on secondment to the plant from PHCN be redeployed back to the holding company without delay.

'Otherwise, no work can be allowed to take place in that place.'