There will be no severance pay for workers of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), the Federal Government has informed.
According to a press release made available to BusinessDay and signed by Ogbuagu Anikwe, special adviser on media to Bart Nnaji, minister of power, this is because the TCN is not being privatised and as such workers of the transmission company should not expect severance pay.
A lot of drama has followed the management control takeover of TCN by Manitoba Hydro International Ltd, a Canadian firm. Most recently, workers protested, Friday, blocking access roads leading to the Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja, which resulted in commotion and traffic jams.
The protesters chanted union songs and flashed placards calling for their severance and other Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) negotiated benefits to be paid.
“I cannot understand why the workers embarked on protests when TCN remains a government holding company, which has never been put up and shall not be put up for privatisation,” the minister said.
Nnaji informed that government had approved the employment of an additional 1000 engineers and technicians to plug the shortfall in manpower needed to run the power transmission backbone.
The minister noted that negotiations with representatives of the labour unions continued only in respect of severance and other benefits for staff of the 17 unbundled PHCN generation and distribution companies that were being privatised, which does not include the TCN.
The TCN manages the nation’s key power transmission backbone, otherwise called the National Grid. Of the 18 companies that resulted from unbundling of the PHCN, only the TCN will not be privatised.
Rather, its management has been contracted to the Canadian company after emerging victorious from a competitive bid organised by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).
According to Nnaji, Manitoba is expected to come with only eight expatriates to manage the transmission company for a period of three years in the first instance.
The BPE, the current manager of TCN, will understudy the expatriate managers, acting as their shadows. In other words, the Nigerian CEO and executive directors will still function in their current positions, to understudy the new managers.