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48,000 sacked PHCN workers head to court over entitlements

The disengaged workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) totalling almost 48,000 have engaged the services of an Abuja law firm to press home their retirement benefits from the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE).

Speaking with journalists in Bauchi yesterday, the National Chairman of the ex-PHCN workers, Hassan Gar disclosed that they engaged the services of Emmanuel Okere law firm to pursue their entitlements.

He said since their disengagement from PHCN) across the country six years ago following the company’s privatisation, the over 48,000 staff were not paid their entitlements by the BPE.

“We have gone through stakeholders, National Assembly, traditional leaders, Federal Ministry of Finance to demand for our entitlements but could not yield any result, that is why we sought the services of a law firm in Abuja to pursue our entitlements.

“So what we are doing is not verification but authorisation for the law firm to have the authority from the disengaged staff to collect their entitlements from BPE.

“The law firm said we must produce authorisation form and sworn affidavit from court to give him the go-ahead to pursue the entitlements and that is what we are doing contrary to verification exercise,” he said.

According to Gar, the N1,000 being contributed was for logistics and facilitation fees for the legal action being taken against the BPE, pointing out that the PHCN trade union and other relevant stakeholders had failed to fight for them.

He said the forum was not conducting any verification but was collecting signatures of the affected former workers of the company to enable them to authorise the law firm to fight for their rights.

Gar further explained that since their sack, they never collected any benefit, including 7.5 per cent of federal government contribution of their pensions, arrears for personal/individual contributions for 16 months, 10 per cent equity share ‘as required by law’ and pre-retirement training allowances.

He, therefore, appealed to the federal government to sympathise with them and address their plight by paying their entitlements.

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