PETROLEUM Tanker Drivers, PTD, branch of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, has threatened to begin a nationwide indefinite strike from today, Monday, cutting off fuel supplies across the country over poor working conditions.
President of NUPENG, Comrade Igwe Achese who announced this after the meeting of NUPENG Central Working Committee, CWC, in Lagos, lamented that all efforts to avert the strike had been ignored by government agencies.
According to him, the strike would have started last Monday, but the national secretariat of NUPENG, pleaded with members of the PTD to shelve the action while NUPENG’s leadership sought for government’s intervention, lamenting that despite all letters, meetings and appeals to government agencies for intervention, there nothing positive came out .
Achese said that the conditions of service of members expired since three years, but their employers, the National Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, had refused to effect a renewal, insisting that PTD members had been passing through hardships and other difficulties including threat to their lives to ensure uninterrupted products supplies nationwide.
“The CWC-in-Session examined the various complaints and agitations of Petroleum Tanker Drivers members of the union over their deplorable working conditions with regards to poor remuneration, insecurity on the highways, poor state of roads, absence of conducive rest places on the highways and the excesses of some security agencies, most especially, the Nigeria Civil Defense Corps. “
The CWC-in-Session considered inhumane, the refusal of National Association of Road Transport Owner (NARTO) to commence negotiation with the union for the renewal of the expired Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) on the working conditions of our Tanker Drivers members in PTD Branch after several appeals and even ultimatum.
The CWC-in-Session therefore resolved to give full backing to any industrial action the members in this sector might decide to take with effect from Monday 3rd of April 2017.
To avert the pains and discomfort the action might cause, the CWC –in – Session calls on the Federal Government to urgently intervene and apprehend the unfortunate situation to enable NARTO meets its obligations to Tanker Drivers.” On the issue of Capital Oil,”
Achese said: “The C.W.C-in-Session received with deep concern the reports in the news media about attempt to declare all workers in the Capital Oil Depot, including hapless Tanker Drivers redundant over issue of fraud they know nothing about.
The CWC-in- Session therefore advice the Federal government and the NNPC to adopt pragmatic approach in resolving the issues in such a manner that will not lead to job losses to avoid industrial unrest in the industry that may lead to scarcity of petroleum products in the country.
“Speaking on other issues raised at the meeting, he said among others, “The CWC-in-Session notes the current calls and agitation by some interested capitalists for the privatization of the nation’s four refineries.
We kick against such moves and advise the Federal Government to sincerely do the Turn-Around-Maintenance (TAM) of the refineries and upgrade their systems in order to allow them produce at full capacity. The CWC believes that this will go a long way to reduce the massive importation of petroleum products into the country.