Fuel tanker drivers call off strike

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

Petroleum tanker drivers have called off their strike.

The drivers withdrew their services Monday morning, expressing concerns about their working conditions and welfare, which they said had been ignored for many months even though, they had brought it to the attention of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA).

The drivers wanted the NPA to ensure the full implementation of the contents in the Petroleum Producers Transportation Delivery Retail and Loss Control manual, which was formulated by the Energy Commission in 2004.

The manual contains directions on how to load and offload petroleum products as well as other operational activities.

According to the drivers, since many fuel refilling stations do not adhere to the guidelines in the manual, they sometimes record shortages which the drivers are surcharged.

This, they argued was not right.

NPA meeting

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Following a favourable meeting with the NPA on Monday, the drivers have decided to call off their strike.

The NPA has consequently asked that all their members who are currently stationed at various depots across the country should withdraw with immediate effect.

This is because "their leaders have come and the matters have been resolved one way or the other," Mr Hassan Tampuli, the Chief Executive of the NPA said at a press briefing.

Read also: Police fire rubber bullets at striking tanker drivers; 5 arrested

Concerning the underground shortages, which some fuel refilling stations have been surcharging drivers, the NPA boss said it has been agreed that everybody should adhere to the oil loss manual.

"We have oil loss manual that is in circulation and everybody including transporters, drivers and operators of the stations and the oil marketing companies (OMCs) are expected to adhere fully to the guidelines in the manual, which would mean that, if a driver gets to a station and then the dealer or the OMC fails to adhere to the contents of the manual, the driver has an obligation to boycott that station," Mr Tampuli stated.

"A driver who decides to continue to discharge will be solely held responsible for whatever it is that he has committed himself to. You either fully insist on the full adherence of the manual or you boycott if they insist that you should continue to do so," he added.

He also advised that every driver should immediately report to the mother union any such incidents.

The leadership of the drivers after the meeting with the NPA said they were satisfied with the steps taken and hence the need to call off the strike.

They said there has always been a misunderstanding between drivers, the OMCs, the transport owners on the compliance of the manual and so when drivers try to challenge them, they mount pressures on the drivers to quickly offload the product and leave to go and load another product.

Because of this, they said some of their drivers have not been able to stand the test of the challenges that they face at various stations.

They said following the NPA meeting, they will now insist on their rights and ensure that the right things were done in line with the contents of the manual.

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