President Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN), Dr Billy Gillis-Harry ,has called on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to consider dialogue instead of the nationwide strike action billed from Monday, September 28, 2020.
PETROAN is the second organized section in the oil and gas sector to take a position considered as capable of pulling the artery off the proposed strike action by the NLC and TUC.
Last Tuesday, the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) surprisingly suspended a two-day warning strike .Although the protest by NARTO, an umbrella organisation of all commercial vehicles owners in Nigeria engaged in the haulage of petroleum products, general cargoes, and movement of goods and passengers nationwide, was unrelated to hike in petrol price hike, yet observers believed the suspension of their strike, after a brief meeting with officials of government, was in order to ensure that their members will not participate in the NLC proposed strike
.In a statement in Abuja on Wednesday,,Dr Harry expressed optimism that a dialogue with the Minister of State for.Petroleum, and Minister of Labour and Organized Labour between Saturday and Sunday,, will achieve the desired understanding than a mass action that will be largely destructive and worsen the hardship already inflicted on Nigeria by the Covid-19 pandemic..
PETROAN is the umbrella body of over 400,000 members nationwide who are petrol station owners and marketers. “Our members occupy the last stratum in the petrol distribution value chain. We have direct contact and final interaction with users of petroleum products. We have inflammable assets that are freely accessible to a possibly rampaging group. So, we are of the opinion that dialogue will achieve middle ground that will be favourable to the masses than a strike action,” the PATROAN President stated.
According to him, while PATROAN does not support the hike in petroleum pump price, and other tariffs, it believes that a strike action will only end up worsening things for Nigerians.
“We want the Nigerian Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress, NUPENG and all sister unions and associations to consider this dialogue option in the interest of the ordinary Nigerians. Let us exhaust all possible avenues of peaceful solution. We believe the authorities will definitely shift,” the PETROAN boss said
The NLC’s Central Working Committee handed down a two-week ultimatum to the FG to reverse the price hike or face industrial action after the National Executive Council meeting on Tuesday in Abuja. The federal government through the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, had on July 1, raised the pump price of petrol to between N140.80 and N143.80, one of the highest price movements in the last few months.