By Ukpono Ubong, Abuja
Staff of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) on Monday clashed with members of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) who had attempted to picket the headquarters of the company and its state offices over an alleged unresolved labour matters.
The TUC members were led by the National President, Boboi Kaigama and some aggrieved national officers of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) which has a dispute with the TUC local branch of the union.
However, while the TUC officials and national officers of the SSAEAC were prevented from picketing the TCN headquarters by the workers, the scene almost turned violent, but for the timely intervention of security agents who ensured that staff and other officials of the ministry of power were not prevented from discharging their official duties.
President of SSAEC, TCN branch, Dairo Abidemi told journalists that the planned picketing of the TCN headquarters was sponsored by the national leadership of SSAEAC having lost the cooperation of TCN branch of SSAEAC.
He accused the SSAEAC national body of mismanaging superannuation funds and monthly subscription of SSAEAC members in TCN branch.
He said the national leadership of SSAEAC misinformed TUC on the issues at state, noting that the issues could be resolved amicably without picketing TCN.
But, in response, Kaigama said that TUC took the decision to picket TCN because TCN management failed to honour invitations by the ministry of labour on the issues between TCN and national SSAEAC.
“We have gone to the ministry of labour more than four times; TCN management has refused to come and when they refused to come, we have to come and picket this place,’’ he said, adding that the issues with the TCN management and the national SSAEAC members are the issue of non-implementation of collective bargaining agreement.
The same scenario played out in Enugu state as the TUC in the state attempted to picket the state office of the TCN.
State Chairman of the TUC, Chukwuma Igbokwe said the union joined its national body to picket the TCN office in the state till further notice. He stated this while addressing newsmen in Enugu on Monday.
Igbokwe said that the TUC frowns at the TCN’s management anti-labour policies and activities targeted at union members.
Similarly, in Kaduna state, the TUC and the United Labour Congress (ULC) clashed over the former’s attempt to picket the Mando office of the TCN.
The TCN staff who are also affiliate members of the ULC and some security personnel resisted the attempt by the TUC to lockdown the premises of the transmission company.
While the state Chairman of TUC, Shehu Muhammed led members of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) to picket the station, the ULC State Chairman, Ephraim James led other members to block the TUC members from picketing the company, claiming that their action was illegal.
James said the ULC and the in-house staff union NUEE were not informed of the TUC action, alleging that the TUC was misinformed by the current President of SSAEAC, Chris Okonkwo on the issues it raised for the picketing.
According to him, Okonkwo turned to TUC “having lost the support of TCN staff in his misguided bid to use the association to advance his selfish interest.”