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Tanker drivers begin sit-down strike

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Members of the National Petroleum Tanker Drivers Union have laid down their tools over unresolved grievances.

Chairman of the Drivers Union, George Nyaunu, accused the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) of turning a deaf ear to their concerns over the years.

The union is among other things demanding better working conditions from the regulator.

The drivers had earlier given government a 48-hour ultimatum to address their concerns. The ultimatum, however, ended yesterday, October 22, 2020, without concrete steps in resolving their issues.

According to the union’s chairman, his members would not resume work until a written document was sent to them from the NPA.

“We gave an ultimatum of 48 hours and it ended yesterday but as law-abiding people, we received a call from a high office for an emergency meeting which we attended yesterday. And it was concluded that our challenges will be addressed immediately and that we should return to work. But this isn’t the first time such assurances have been given.”

“This started in 2017 and nothing has been done about it. They gave assurances that a signed agreement will be sent to us today at 10 am but it has not been done. So we are not working from now until the written document is sent to us.”

Demands of the tanker drivers

The fuel tanker drivers on Monday, October 19, 2020, held a press conference on Monday, October 19, 2020, to lay bare their grievances.

They among other things complained about police harassment at checkpoints and NPA’s lack of adherence to a 2017 memorandum of understanding signed by stakeholders on condition of service for tanker drivers and their mates.

The tanker drivers also complained about the non-compliance of transit losses and the refusal of depot operators to abide by the 20 degrees Celsius loading temperature requirement.

The tanker drivers also gave the government a 24-hour ultimatum to have their issues addressed.

But the NPA absolved itself from blame.

It, however, convened a meeting between the National Petroleum Tanker Drivers Union and the General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union (GTPCWU) to deliberate on concerns raised by the Union.

In September 2020, tanker drivers operating at the Buipe depot in the Savannah Region declared an indefinite strike over the refusal of the management of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport (BOST) to fix malfunctioning loading metres at the depot.

Months earlier, the drivers kicked against the implementation of the new Electronic Cargo Tracking System by the National Petroleum Authority.

The Electronic Cargo Tracking System and the National Command Centre from the National Petroleum Authority was launched in Accra in January 2020 to improve the efficiency of NPA in the monitoring of Bulk Roads Vehicles nationwide and also check illicit activities associated with the transportation of petroleum products across the country.

But the drivers threatened to strike if the implementation is not suspended.

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