The most filling stations may begin to run dry today as the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers NUPENG have decided to down tools for reasons some people described as political rather than economics.
According some industry operators that spoke to BusinessDay they said the union is demanding that the government should remove the Army and Police from their different work places as they were intimidating and harassing workers in such establishments, saying the access roads have been completely militarised and tanker drivers don’t have free movement.
The other reasons given according to the unions are that the ministry of Labour should immediately release its registration certificate, non inclusion in the minimum wage committee, among others. The union is pressing also that the Ministry of Labour and Employment should set up a task force immediately to carry out factory inspections and review the privatisation of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
Many of the filling stations that were visited yesterday told BusinessDay that they are selling their last stocks and if they are not able to replenish their stocks by yesterday they may not be able to service their customers today.
BusinessDay investigation revealed that many of the unit’s heads of the union at the various depots are not happy about this development. Some of them claimed that the action of the national body of the union is uncalled for.
Meanwhile a meeting between the Federal Government and the union commenced about noon yesterday with the aim to find amicable solution to the issues on hand and allow the oil marketing companies continue to carry on their activities without molestations. Had given an indication to this on Monday when he said that crucial conciliatory meeting would be held with the president and the executive of NUPENG in his office by 11:30a.m.
NUPENG is currently an affiliate under the United Labour Congress (ULC). Other unions under the ULC includes Petroleum Tankers Drivers (PTD), National Electricity Employees Union (NUEE); National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE), telecommunication unions and Aviation unions.
It would also be recalled the ULC had earlier issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government which expired on Sept. 8 over 12-point demands.
The union had earlier issued another seven-day strike notice that expired on Sept. 15 with a threat to shut down oil, power and aviation sectors.
OLUSOLA BELLO, BusinessDay