Fuel Scarcity Alert: NNPC Moves to Avert Planned Strike by Tanker Drivers - EazyFeeds

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Sunday 2 April 2017

Fuel Scarcity Alert: NNPC Moves to Avert Planned Strike by Tanker Drivers

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has intervened to avert the strike action being planned by the Petroleum Tankers Drivers (PTD) section of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).

At the end of its Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting held at the union’s secretariat in Lagos on Friday, PTD had issued a notice to commence strike on Monday, April 3.

NUPENG’s national President, Mr. Igwe Achese, who released the communiqué, said the strike would draw the attention of the federal government and other stakeholders to some unresolved issues bordering on the welfare of workers, such as bad roads, poor remuneration, insecurity and the alleged excesses of some security agencies.

But the Group General Manager in charge of Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, said yesterday that the Group Managing Director of the corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, had engaged the leadership of the union to avert the impending crisis.

Ughamadu disclosed that with Baru’s personal intervention, the issues would be resolved amicably.

“We are engaging them. Few days ago, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru was in touch with the leadership of the union. Hopefully, with his intervention, it will be resolved,” Ughamadu explained.

Initial efforts to reach Achese and the South West Zonal Chairman of NUPENG, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo to confirm the development were abortive as their mobile phones were switched off.

In their communiqué, NUPENG said: “The CWC-in-Session considers inhumane, the refusal of the National Association of Transport Owners (NARTO) to commence negotiation with the union for the renewal of the expired Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) on the working conditions of our Tanker Driver members in the PTD branch, after several appeals and even an ultimatum”.

“The CWC-in-Session, therefore, resolves to give full backing to any industrial action the members in this sector might decide to take with effect from Monday, April 3, 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 meet its obligations to tanker drivers,’’ the communique added.

The communique also called on the National Assembly to urgently pass the Petroleum Industry Bill, in order to tackle all the issues of corruption plaguing the oil sector.

It also called for the commercialisation of the operations of the NNPC, as well as the turn-around-maintenance for the refineries, to increase local production and reduce the importation of petroleum products.

The communique commended the efforts of the federal government to encourage operators of illegal refineries to be integrated into the establishment of modular refineries.

The union also vowed to resist any attempt to increase the pump price of petrol. It also commended efforts of the government to shore up the Naira against the Dollar and the decline in the inflationary rate to 17.5 per cent.

However, South West Zonal Chairman of NUPENG, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, said yesterday that he was not aware of any “meaningful reach out” by the NNPC to the union.

“I have not received any signal from my superiors that there has been any meaningful reach out to us,” he said.

Korodo disclosed that the union had mobilised tanker drivers for Monday’s action, stressing that all fuel depots will be shut down. “We have mobilised our members because this thing has to do with their welfare,” he added.

He also stated that the union wants the federal government to intervene in the dispute between the NNPC and Capital Oil and Gas Limited.

“NNPC is saying that Capital Oil is indebted to it but Capital Oil has said from its own records, the NNPC is indebted to it. We want government to intervene to ensure that they do proper reconciliation because it is affecting our members. We have over 2,000 tanker drivers in Capital Oil and they have been declared redundant since the dispute started. Having been declared redundant, the drivers might be issued sack letters and we don’t want that to happen. That is why we want government to resolve the matter,” Korodo explained.

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