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Tanker drivers set to down tools over welfare 

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Chinazor Megbolu

The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) branch, is set to down tools over safety valves.

The group disclosed this on Sunday, saying they will withdraw their services if the installation of safety valve is not made mandatory in petroleum trucks with effective from May 1, 2021.
The Chairman, Mr. Akanni Oladiti, in his remarks, said they reached the conclusion after its executive meeting on March 27 in Ibadan, Oyo State.
He noted that the decision was due to the fact that the union members were usually the first casualties in any situation of fire accidents involving petroleum trucks.
“The 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 property.
“The council in session noted with deep concerns, the inability to fully  enforce the compulsory installation of safety valves in all petroleum trucks to protect the inflammable contents of the trucks from spilling over in a situation of road mishaps.
“These fire accidents are becoming too many but definitely avoidable.
“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.
“However, these are hard and difficult decisions we must take for the sake of our members and even the general public,” he said.
Oladiti further explained that the union issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) in order to negotiate the renewal of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for new working conditions for  tanker drivers.
He also pointed out that the expiring CBA had been in operation for the past six years despite the fact that the country had been experiencing spiral inflationary trend that was further complicated by the  COVID -19 pandemic.
According to Oladiti; “the council in session expresses deep worries that petroleum tanker drivers have been going through harrowing financial situations.
“This is so, even, while rendering selfless national services to ensure delivery of petroleum products to homes and factories in every nookmand cranny of this country, day and nights, in good and bad weathers and on highly deplorable highways”.

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