The Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) has directed its members on Thursday to commence full mobilisation to ensure compliance with the directive of the Nigerian labour unions to embark on an indefinite strike.
Members of NUPENG include the influential Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) whose members drive the petrol and diesel tankers that distribute the products from Lagos, where they are imported, across Nigeria. Virtually all the diesel and petrol used in Nigeria are imported and then distributed by road with tankers.
A NUPENG strike could thus cripple the distribution of petrol and diesel across Nigeria and thus lead to a crisis in the sector and cripple the economy.
NUPENG’s strike notice was contained in a statement jointly signed by its President, Williams Akhoreha, and General Secretary Afolabi Olawale, on Thursday.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had on Tuesday said they will embark on an indefinite strike from 3 October over the prevailing hardship due to the removal of subsidy on petrol.
The TUC said, “The strike is to demonstrate our resolve for a truly independent Nigeria; to take our destinies in our own hands and rescue our nation.”
In a statement seen by EnergyPlanets on Thursday, NUPENG said the government had demonstrated a high insensitivity and lack of respect and regard for organized labour and the Nigerian masses.
“Consequent upon the joint resolution of the National Executive Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress as the outcome of the joint National Executive Council meeting of the two Labour federations, held on 26 September 2023, we wish to inform all our members in the formal and informal sectors of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry and alert the general public that the rank and file members of our union are hereby directed to commence full mobilization and ensure unwavering compliance with the directive of the two Labour Centres to all affiliate Industrial Unions to embark on a nationwide industrial action from midnight of 3rd October 2023,” it said.
It said that the leadership of NUPENG found it so disturbing and unfortunate, that the federal government of Nigeria and other tiers of governments “are so insensitive to the excruciating and debilitating socio/economic pains Nigerians are passing through as a result of very harsh and sudden economic policies taken by this administration without any accompanying socio/economic policies to ameliorate and cushion the immediate effects and impacts those difficult and harsh policies are having on the citizenry.”
It added: “Further worrisome to us is the apparent lack of regard and respect to the cries and yearnings of Organised Labour, Civil Society Organisations and the general public by this administration.
“It appears the administration is arrogantly taking the goodwill and the tolerance level of the workers and Nigerians in general for granted. This arrogance is demonstrated clearly and loudly by the ways and manners of meetings with organized labour and outcomes of such meetings are taken with levity and disrespect.
“The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) is aware of the huge impacts a 24-hour industrial action by organized labour can have on businesses and the socio/economic lives of the nation, unfortunately, the government’s actions and inactions are inextricably forcing the organized labour to take this very hard and painful route of last resort to demand for needful socio/economic policies to ameliorate and cushion the debilitating and dehumanizing living conditions of Nigerians generally.
“Beyond any reasonable doubt, the government has demonstrated a high insensitivity and lack of respect and regard to organized labour and the Nigerian masses.
“Therefore, it is in the light of the above, that NUPENG as a responsive and responsible affiliate Union of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), will fully comply with the resolution of the joint NEC meeting and we hereby direct the leaders in the four (4) Zonal Councils of our great Union to mobilize all our members in the formal and informal sectors to shut down services effective 3rd October, 2023.
“All NUPENG members, including the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), Petrol Stations Workers (PSW), Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers (LPGAR) and all other allied workers in the value chain of petroleum products distribution must comply with this directive from midnight of Tuesday, 3rd October 2023.
“All Branches and Units of our Union are to take note and ensure full compliance by setting up Compliance and Monitoring Teams in all operational locations. Our Solidarity remains constant, for the Union makes us strong.”