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NLC, TUC Labour unions shut down BEDC over hike in tariff in Edo

Commercial activities were on Monday grounded at the corporate headquarters of Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC Plc, Benin City after the organized labour shut down the premises of the company.

DAILY POST reports that the organized labour made up of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, shut down the electricity company in protest against the recent hike in electricity tariff.

The protesters also closed down the Edo State office of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, in Benin City.

The protesters with placards of various inscriptions such as, “Stop increase in electricity bills, we don’t need an increase in electricity tariff but give us regular power” among others.

The State Chairman of NLC, Odion Olaye, who led the unions for the picketing exercise, noted that it complied with the directive by the national leadership of the labour unions.

Olaye, who described the exercise as a huge success, however, called on consumers of electricity in the state to join the unions in the struggle to bring down the prices of electricity.

According to him, the message to electricity consumers in Edo State is that they should join the struggle so that they can bring down the price of electricity to the barest minimum.

”We are asking them to revert to the former price which is N65 per kilowatt.

“The offices of the BEDC and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission will remain locked until we get a directive from the national headquarters of the Unions to unlock them”, he said.

Also speaking, the state chairman of TUC, Aighowahi James, described the hike in electricity prices as a death penalty to the ordinary worker in the country.

James opined that the purpose of the picketing of the company was to compel the management to reverse the price of electricity tariffs from N225 per kilowatt to the former price of N65.

“We are here this morning to picket the DISCO and NERC. The reason is that we want a reversal from N225 to N65 as it was before.

“The reason is that the hike in tariff is a death penalty to the workers. It’s a nightmare for the workers. It’s a masquerade to the workers and to the society at large.

“We all know the importance of electricity, once the tariff is increased, it affects every facet of life and for that reason, the national said they should reverse it and to enable them to enhance the reversal, that’s the reason for the picketing,” he added.

On his part, the Zonal Organising Secretary, Edo/Delta Zone of National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, Nash Shuaibu, lamented the negative impact of the hike in the price of electricity on its members.

He said that the environment was no longer conducive for members of the union to work. “As members of the National Union of Electricity Employees, we had cried out to the Nigeria Labour Congress a series of times about the maltreatment, the molestation, the beatings our staff receive outside because of this increase in tariff.

“The environment is no longer conducive for us to work, because of the hike in tariff.

“We have cried to the Congress to help us because electricity workers are really dehumanized, they are scared to go out for work because the customers do not have electricity supplied to them, yet, we bring bills to them”, he stated.

He, however, appealed to the leadership of NLC and TUC to address the issue with the NERC and the necessary agencies to ensure that our staff are protected,” he said.

NLC, TUC Labour unions shut down BEDC over hike in tariff in Edo

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