Residents of Rivers and Bayelsa states may face scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit also known as petrol as the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers has ordered owners of filling stations in the two states to shut down operations and join its ongoing strike.
The Acting Zonal Chairman of NUPENG, Port Harcourt Zone, Mr. Charles Eleto, told journalists in the Rivers State capital that the body would not spare any filling station that failed to comply with the shutdown order as sanctions would be meted on erring filling stations owners.
Eleto explained that the strike action by the NUPENG in the zone was prompted by the actions of four firms operating in Rivers and Bayelsa states.
He said, “In lieu of NUPENG’s ongoing strike in Rivers and Bayelsa states, all petrol station workers in these two states are hereby informed of the strike and they should be part of it as a solidarity. Injury to one is injury to all. In a situation where anyone is found wanting, the union will sanction them. I know that some filling stations have not joined the strike. That is why we are issuing this directive so that those who have not joined should immediately shut down the sales of petroleum products at their respective filling stations.
“The refinery has shut down, petroleum tanker drivers have shut down; the private depots have shut down, so, they (filling stations) should also join the strike by shutting down.”
He pleaded with governors of the two states and security agencies to prevail on the four companies to stop the victimisation of workers and recognise NUPENG as a union.
He said, “We gave two weeks ultimatum to the governors of Rivers and Bayelsa states and the Federal Ministry of Labour to call these companies to order but they have refused to do so.
“So, we are not threatened by anybody, than to use what we have to get what we want. The companies are Hilong Engineering Nigeria Limited, Uniterm Nigeria Limited, Specialist Drilling Fluid Nigeria Limited and Fudro Nigeria Limited.
“If Nigerians are worried, they should call on the companies to abide by NUPENG’s policy because what these companies are doing is purely against any recognised labour law and we cannot tolerate it. That’s why we are picketing Rivers and Bayelsa states.’’
Eleto, however, warned that the strike would only be called off if the affected companies were ready to engage NUPENG in a dialogue.
“As soon as the companies involved are ready to dialogue, the strike would be over. We do not want Nigerians to suffer,” he added.