Government Appeals for Cooperation Amid Looming Electricity Worker Strike Over Tariff Hike

Federal Government Urges Electricity Union to Halt Strike Amid Tariff Hike Tensions

As tensions rise following a recent electricity tariff hike, the Federal Government has reached out to the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), urging them not to proceed with a threatened strike. The union has expressed firm intentions to halt services if the government does not reverse the subsidy removal affecting Band A customers, which include those receiving around 20 hours of power supply daily.

Adebiyi Adeyeye, the National President of NUEE, voiced the union’s stance in a recent interview, emphasizing their readiness to act should the government ignore their demands. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s decision on April 3 to increase tariffs from N66 to N225 per kilowatt-hour for Band A customers has been met with severe backlash.

Adeyeye highlighted the impracticality of guaranteeing 20 hours of electricity with the existing infrastructure and pointed out the potential for conflicts arising from the unrealistic tariff collection expectations placed on union members. He noted the current system’s inadequacy, stating, “You cannot give what you don’t have,” and expressed concerns over the safety of workers facing public ire amid frequent power cuts.

The union has reported numerous incidents where electricity workers were attacked, attributing these to the pressures of meeting unattainable targets. More than 70% of Band A customers lack meters, complicating the collection process and increasing the risk to workers forced to enforce these higher charges.

Despite the gravity of their stance, Adeyeye clarified that NUEE has not yet set a strike deadline but insists on immediate government action to avert service withdrawal. “It is very difficult for us to collect such money. We don’t have the equipment to supply even 10 hours of electricity to the people,” he added, reinforcing the union’s resolve to protect its members without succumbing to external threats.

In response, the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, through his spokesperson Bolaji Tunji, called for patience and understanding from the union. Adelabu emphasized the government’s commitment to improving the power supply and stressed that the tariff adjustments are part of broader efforts to stabilize and enhance the sector, ultimately benefiting the economy and increasing job opportunities.

The ministry continues to plead with the union to consider the broader implications of their actions and to collaborate on finding solutions that will ensure sustainable improvements in Nigeria’s power infrastructure.

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