Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige

As part of efforts to avert the looming petroleum products scarcity, the Federal Government is billed to meet with the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers NUPENG over the closure oil depots in the country.

Recall that the union, an affiliate of the United Labour Congress of Nigeria ULC had commenced a strike action, as it directed its members to stop lifting petroleum products, which might lead to scarcity of the products across the country.

The meeting is sequel to yesterday’s invitation by the Minister of Labour and Employment; Dr. Chris Ngige to the executives of the union on Tuesday.

A statement signed by the Deputy Director Press of the Ministry, Mr. Samuel Olowookere, said that the Minister called for the meeting with the oil workers in order to resolve all the contending issues amicably.

The statement reads in part: “Towards apprehending the ongoing industrial action embarked upon by the NUPENG workers, the Minister has scheduled a crucial conciliatory meeting with the president and executive of NUPENG on Tuesday.”

It was however gathered that the decision of the Minister to promptly call the meeting to resolve the strike, which enters its second day today follows the resolve by the leadership of the ULC cripple economic activities in the country by ensuring that the oil depots remained closed.

President of the ULC, Mr. Joe Ajaero, had said while the notice of the strike notice lasted that the union was determined to cripple all modes of transport by ensuring there is no supply, including blackout throughout the country.

According to him, ULC is demanding for a ban on the deployment of soldiers and policemen in members’ places of work, factory premises; establishment of a task force by the Federal Ministry of Labour to carry out factory inspections.

Other demands by the union include immediate review of the privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria; and payment of arrears of salaries owed workers by the government, among others.

“The Federal Government should listen to the Nigerian workers and the masses, who it claims to lead. That is the only way we can get this matter amicably resolved”, Ajero said.

Although government has refused to recognize the Union, Ajaero said its affiliates that have joined the strike include the National Union of Electricity Employees; Academic Staff Union of Research Institutes; National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees; NUPENG and Nigerian Union of Railway Workers; National Union of Lottery Agents and Employees

Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC has assured that the strike action will not lead to scarcity of the products, as adequate measures have been put in place to ensure that the products are distributed across the country

Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division of the corporation, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, therefore warned consumers and motorists against panic buying of the products.

According to him, there are sufficient products comprising aviation fuel, Premium Motor Spirit also called petrol, Automotive Gas Oil called diesel and Dual Purpose kerosene.