By Our Reporter
The epileptic power supply will be further threatened as Ikeja Electric (IE), which distributes power to the bulk of Lagos Mainland, at the weekend discontinued talks with Labour.
The company and workers agreed to the talks as a way forward after last month’s strike following disengagement of workers. The strike completely crippled power supply in the country’s economic capital.
Yesterday, the company said it had discontinued the talks because “the negotiation was tending towards a proposition that would jeopardise transparency, employee performance and service excellence to customers.”
Last month, Labour picketed the electricity distribution company for three days over the disengagement of workers who failed to meet the company’s performance objectives and were deemed to be performing below standard.
However, the picketing was suspended after Ikeja Electric reached an agreement with the National Union of Electricity Workers (NUEE) and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to set up a committee to review the performance appraisal and competency assessment process.
Ikeja Electric’s Head of Corporate Communications, Felix Ofulue, said the company discontinued the talks “due to a clear determination by representatives of Labour to stick to a pre-conceived and irreversible position that the process was flawed. Therefore, the review process was an exercise in futility.
“Rather than engage in an objective and constructive review of the whole appraisal process which is tailored in line with global best practices, Labour preferred an arbitrary review in which reduced criteria would be applied to certain selected employees who are members of the union”.
He added: “The performance review process was classified into four stages, clearly detailing steps to be taken at each stage. However, Labour, without taking any of these steps into consideration and any justifiable rationale, insisted the process was flawed and demanded that Ikeja Electric must recall all disengaged staff.
“While we remain committed to upholding best human capital processes and stakeholder engagement in fostering excellence in the workplace, there are indications that the propositions of certain actors in the negotiation process are against our resolve to provide improved services to our customers and are fixated on jeopardizing our overall interest to move the industry forward so we had no choice but to withdraw in the interest of our consumers”.
Ofulue said since the electricity sector had suffered great setback for many decades because of mismanagement, it is time to focus on applying quality human capital to salvage the situation.
The Ikeja Electric called for restraint to avoid the crippling electricity shutdown that accompanied last month’s strike
He said Ikeja Electric would resist “any attempt to allow its customers go through another harrowing outage ordeal,” saying that the company will not hesitate to seek redress at the Industrial Court should Labour’s action “worsen the power situation which over the few weeks have been dismal due to grid challenges and gas shortage.”