Quick End To Tanker Driver’s Strike As Nigeria Agrees Demands

by Samuel Abasi Last updated on April 15th, 2017,

Quick End To Tanker Driver’s Strike As Nigeria Agrees Demands. The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers called off the strike by oil tanker drivers in the capital Abuja after the federal government intervened and promised to look into the drivers’ demands.

A representative of the Nigerian National Oil Corporation, for his part, said that the head of the company had shaken hands with the union’s leader to increase the remuneration of tanker drivers. The government was said to have quickly agreed to improve their wages and address their other grievances, such as the condition of the roads they drive on.

Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, branch of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, through it’s chairman Mr. Salimon Oladiti, had yesterday, directed members to begin nationwide indefinite strike and shut all loading depots and fuel terminals until further notice.
The workers were protesting non-renewal of their Collective Bargaining Agreement, CBA, that expired three years ago, deplorable conditions of nation’s high ways, alleged harassment by security, especially Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, and plans by Capital Oil Plc to declare 2000 members redundant due to its unresolved issue with Petroleum Products Marketing Company, PPMC.

When the strike was first announced yesterday, it sparked immediate concern that the event could lead to indefinite supply chain disruptions for the nation’s oil and gas industry, already under pressure after almost a year of attacks in the industry by several militant groups, most active among them the Niger Delta Avengers.

”It is nationwide and compliance is total – all tanker drivers across the nation are involved,” Cogent Ojobo, who chairs NUPENG for the region, said.

As the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) yesterday grounded fuel loading activities nationwide, it sparked long queues for fuel in Abuja and panic buying in some parts of Lagos.  Apapa, home of over 40 depots and loading gantries, was turned into a proverbial ghost city as the industrial action grounded loading activities to a total halt, .

All tank farms and depots on the long stretch of Mobil Road to Dockyard Road in Apapa, were devoid of the usual loading of petroleum products. An official at one of the depots said that the country lost multi-million naira on the first day of the strike.

Meanwhile, it has become clear that President Buhari’s change of approach in the federal government’s dealings with the Delta militants has borne fruit, with Nigeria’s crude oil output rising to 1.68 million barrels daily, from 1.4 million bpd last August amid the frequent bombings.

Initially, Buhari tried a forceful tactic—threatening militants that they would be dealt with by force and sending troops in the Delta. This, however, had the opposite effect, with more militant groups popping up in the oil-rich region and attacks on infrastructure becoming more frequent.

Last year, the government decided to try the path of negotiations. This seems to be working for now, as the local communities wait to see if the federal government will make good on its promises for billions in job-creating investments and payouts under an amnesty program for militants.

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