There is total black out in Benin City and environs as the picketing of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company by the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) enters day two.
It was gathered the police have invited the leadership of NUEE for questioning over alleged unauthorized protest.
The black out was as a result of the switching off and shutting down of many sub-injection stations of the BEDC by the protesters.
Deputy President of NUEE in charge of the Southern zone, Comrade Christian Omoneh, said the protest was as a result of the BEDC management to sign Comrade Omoneh accused the BEDC of disregarding collective agreement, refusal to pay arrears of salary for 32 months and non-payment of 2017 performance efficiency bonus.
The entrance gate of the BEDC has been under lock and key since Wednesday morning when the picketing began.
Commenting on the black out, spokesman for the BEDC, Mr. Tayo Adekunle, said some parts of Benin City were experiencing black out due to a faulty 60 mva transformer belonging to the Transmission Company of Nigeria.
He said there was another cable explosion at the 150mva transformer at Ihovbor power plant.
Tayo stated that BEDC field workers reported that NUEE members switched off some sub-stations supplying electricity to consumers.
He explained that the areas of contentions were request by the union for BEDC to give loans to their members and pay Exit token above affordable level to staff that are wxitwd from employment.
The BEDC spokesman said the position of BEDC Management was in line with what obtains in unionized private sector organizations and in tune with BEDC financial reality in a power sector that is just evolving.
Tayo said the BEDC declared a trade dispute and wrote to the Federal Ministry of Labour requesting for their arbitration intervention after NUEE rejected the BEDC offer.
According to him, “We are however surprised at the action of NUEE to embark on the picketing, without regard for the rule of law and legal process or recourse to BEDC Management, security agencies and the labour ministry.
“Management wishes to note the assault on some of our staff involved in the crusade against illegal activities on BEDC network during today’s picketing, an act which shows deliberate attempt to sabotage of our policy to eradicate illegality and improve power supply to customers.
“It should be noted that some injection substations are shut down due to this illegal picketing and assault taken against staff who are manning these locations in order to prevent customers from receiving power.”
condition of service for its employees.