By ANDREW OJIEZEL
As the indefinite strike embarked upon by the Petroleum and Tanker Drivers (PTD), am arm of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) entered its first day, the union has pledged to dialogue with government and its representatives to put an end to it.
The National Chairman, Comrade Tokunbo Korodo, who made this known to National Daily this morning described the strike as a total and successful one based on the total compliance by all the tanker drivers nationwide.
Korodo told National Daily that the union is ready for negotiation with government and its representatives because, “we were forced to embark on the strike based on the hazards our members are facing on daily basis and because government failed to provide
conducive atmosphere for smooth transportation of petroleum products. Among the lack of conducive atmosphere is lack of access roads and insecurity. We waiting for negotiation with government to iron-out the matter. We believe the issues should be resolved before the effect of the strike will start biting hard on the people in the country.”
Reacting to question on why the union went to strike when they knew they could have negotiated with government and its agencies avert the strike, Korodo blamed government failure for the strike, noting that the union, actually used all avenues to avert the strike, but that government refused to honour its part. He stated that the strike is meant to force government into the negotiation.
It would be recalled NUPENG National President, Comrade (Dr) Achese Igwe, cited the serious plights members of the tanker drivers have been going through as one of the reasons for the strike.
At a press conference, Achese stated that “The Central Working Committee (CWC), in session examined the various complaints and agitations of Petroleum Tanker Drivers members of NUPENG over their deplorable working conditions with regards to poor remuneration, insecurity on highways, poor state of roads, absence of conducive rest places on the highways and the excesses of some security agencies, most especially the Nigeria Civil Defence Corps.
“The CWC-m-session considered inhumane, the refusal of National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) to commence negotiation with the union for the renewal of expired collective bargaining agreement (CBA) on the working conditions of our tanker drivers members in PTD branch after several appeals and even ultimatum.”
In addition, Achese stated “that the CWC-in-session therefore resolved to give full baking to any industrial action the members in the 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 meets the obligations to tankers drivers.”