Tanker Drivers call off strike after less than 24 hours

Oscarline Onwuemenyi
04 April 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Striking petroleum tanker drivers have called off their strike less than 24 hours after it commenced.

The Petroleum Tankers Drivers, PTD, section of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, commenced the strike on Monday, but resolved to call it off after meeting government officials.

NUPENG President, Comrade Igwe Achese, announced on Monday evening the decision to immediately call off the strike following the intervention of the NNPC management in the crisis.

The tanker drivers had said at the end of their Central Working Committee, CWC, meeting in Lagos on Friday that they were embarking on the strike pursuant to their demands which included welfare matters.

Mr. Achese had said the welfare issues included the perennial problem of bad roads, poor salaries and other conditions of service, insecurity and alleged high-handedness of some security operatives against their members.

However, in calling off the strike, Mr. Achese said the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, had demonstrated sufficient commitment by his management to resolve the issues.

Earlier at the opening of the meeting, Mr. Baru said the Federal government had approved the immediate increment of bridging cost allowance payable to petroleum product marketers by 16.13 per cent.

He said the approval by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, raised the allowance from the current N6.20 per litre to N7.20 with immediate effect.

Petroleum Tanker Drivers, over the weekend, directed members to begin nationwide indefinite strike and shut all loading depots and fuel terminals until further notice.

The workers are 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.

National Chairman of PTD, Mr. Salimon Oladiti, said, yesterday, that there was no going back on the strike as it was decided by the organs of the union.

According to him, the strike will be total as loading depots and fuel terminals nationwide will be shut down.

He said: “There is no going back. The strike is definitely going ahead as planned and it will be total because all loading depots and fuel terminals will be shut down. We have fully mobilized and sensitized all members.”

It was, however, gathered that there had been frantic efforts by government agencies and officials in the last 24 hours to abort the strike because of its socio-economic implications on the nation and the citizens.

It was gathered that government officials were making efforts to summon the leaders of the union for an emergency meeting today to find solutions to the crisis.

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