The threatened solidarity strike is already underway, an official with the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Gas Workers, NUPENG, said on Wednesday.
According to the Vanguard, the reliable source said NUPENG followed through with its threat to embark on a solidarity strike in a show of support for the 788 Lagos doctors, who were sacked after they refused to answer queries for launching a three-day warning strike action.
NUPENG, who threatened last week to join the strike if the Lagos State government fails to reverse its decision, said it made good on the threat on Tuesday as none of the workers lifted petroleum products in any of the depots.
“Tankers have stopped loading from the depots and what petrol stations are selling now are the products they have in stock,” the official is quoted by the Vanguard as saying.
The NUPENG strike action could mean disastrous things for Lagos state residents at the pump should filling stations run out of product and the union is well aware of the fact.
“It is after they exhaust what they have in the filling stations that the impact will be felt,” the official told the Vanguard.
In a statement released last week, the state government referred to NUPENG’s strike warnings as “blackmail and arm twisting”, adding that in time Nigerians would see that “NUPENG whose stock in trade is to call a strike at every flimsy excuse that is seeking to inflict more pains on the people through its sympathy strike”.
NUPENG, whose strike is confined only to the Lagos area, has been accused by the state government of embarking on the “solidarity strike” in order to get back at the government for clearing tankers off the Apapa-Oshodi expressway, where they once lined the crowded streets.
However, the union argues that they are simply supporting their sacked comrades as “an injury to one is an injury to the other”.
Strike fever spreads
As the stand off between Lagos state doctors and the government grows longer, it appears the strike fever is spreading across state lines. Osun and Oyo state doctors are threatening to throw their collective weight behind the the 788 sacked medical doctors.
Osun state chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, appealed to their Governor Rauf Aregbesola to reason with his Lagos state counterpart, Gov. Babatunde Fashola.
They warned that if a compromise is not reached, then the state’s 800 or more doctors will have no recourse but to join forces with other doctors in mass nationwide sympathy strike.
Meanwhile, medical practitioners in Oyo state have embarked on a three-day warning strike. The National Association of Resident Doctors in Oyo State called on doctors within the association to join the strike from 31 May through 2 June.
President of the association, Dr. Wale Ojediran, said at the University College Hospital, Ibadan that the issue was becoming a national crisis.
He condemned the mass sack of their Lagos state counterparts as insensitive and vowed their support as an injustice to one is an injustice to all.
Lagos state sacked doctors are not only demanding that they be reinstated, but are also asking for the implementation of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, agreed upon in March 2011.