Tanker drivers, at the weekend, threatened to cause fresh fuel supply crisis with another industrial action if the Federal Government fails to enforce the compulsory installation of safety valves in all petroleum trucks to protect the inflammable contents from spilling over in the event of road mishap.
Rising under the auspices of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) branch of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), the tanker drivers also threatened to withdraw services of its members if the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) failed to negotiate the renewal of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for new working conditions for petroleum tanker drivers.
PTD, in a communiqué signed by its National Chairman, Comrade Salmon Akanni Oladiti, obtained by New Telegraph, issued a 14-day ultimatum to NARTO to initiate new conditions of service for petroleum tanker drivers effective March 27, 2021.
Also, it urged the Federal Government to ensure that the installation of safety valves was made mandatory in all petroleum trucks with effect from May 1, 2021.
The communiqué read: “The Branch Executive Council in session is not unmindful of the pains and discomforts our decisions and intending actions will have on the general public, but these are hard and difficult decisions we must take for the sake of our members and even the general public.
“The meeting in session noted with deep pains that the expiring collective bargaining agreement has been in operation for the past six years even when the country has been experiencing spiral inflationary trend that is further complicated by destructive powers of COVID 19.
“The council in session expressed deep worries that petroleum tanker drivers have been going through harrowing financial situations even while rendering selfless national services, to ensure delivery of petroleum products to homes and factories in every nook and crannies of this country, day and nights, in good and bad weather and on highly deplorable highways.
“The Branch Executive Council in session, therefore, resolved that following the continuing agitations of our members and the seeming hesitation of NARTO to negotiate the renewal of the CBA, the branch will no longer be able to guarantee the continued service of our members in the petroleum products distribution across the country if a new condition of service for petroleum tanker drivers is not provided for in the next fourteen days with effect from today, 27th day of March 2021.”
The Branch Executive Council in session, according to the communiqué, “discussed with sadness, pains and deep worries, the increasing rate of fire incidences involving petroleum trucks with accompanying massive destruction of lives and properties of our members and general public.
“The council in session noted with deep concerns the government’s dilly dallying attitude towards the enforcement of the compulsory installation of safety valves in all petroleum trucks to protect the inflammable contents of these trucks from spilling over in a situation of road mishaps.
“The council in session expressed disappointment over the failure of the Federal Government to live up to its various commitments with various stakeholders in several meetings called by the government on the same matter.
Insensitive government officials and unscrupulous businessmen will no longer be allowed to keep destroying the lives of our members and innocent general public. These fire accidents are becoming too many, but definitely avoidable.
“It is in the well informed opinion of the council in session that these safety valves, if installed, will go a long way in reducing the rate of fire accidents involving petroleum trucks and, therefore, save precious lives and properties.
“In the light of the above, the executive council in session resolved to direct all our members to withdraw their services if installation of safety valves is not made mandatory in all petroleum trucks with effect from 1st of May 2021, in view of the fact that our members are usually the first casualties in any situation of fire accidents involving petroleum trucks.”