C’River residents still experiencing blackout despite strike suspension
By Joseph Kingston, Calabar
Despite the suspension of nationwide strike embarked upon by the National Union of Electricity Employees, Calabar metropolis, Cross River State is still experiencing power blackout as at Thursday.
Our reporter, who monitored the electricity situation in the state capital on Thursday, said there was no hope of restoration of electricity as many businesses and offices, including government offices, had to put on their power generating plants.
It was not clear when power would be restored but the state chairman of National Union of Electricity Employees, Comrade Joe Oforka, assured consumers that electricity supply would be restored as soon as possible.
Our reporter learnt that electricity cables in places Calabar Road, Mary Slessor Avenue, Mbukpa amongst other streets, were pulled down in the course of the riot by aggrieved electricity workers of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) on Wednesday.
They had carried placards with inscriptions like: “No to outsourcing of staff”, “Six years down the line after takeover, no salary increment”, “Management has refused to sign conditions of service agreement”, “underpayment of salary to newly recruited staff unacceptable,” amongst other inscriptions, and had blocked the Calabar office of the organisation to demand improved conditions of service and severance allowances for retired staff.
During the protest, they demanded the complete payment of their outstanding severance allowances accruing to those who worked with the defunct National Electric Power Authority and the implementation of improved conditions of service for all PHED staff. Oforka said the nationwide strike was to bring to the fore the plight of the workers so as to compel government to attend to their needs.