Wednesday 21 October, 2020

Petrol sector disrupted as tanker drivers go on strike

The petroleum trade has again been disrupted, with tanker drivers gone on strike.

The drivers parked their vehicles at the Petrojam oil refinery in Kingston on Tuesday morning.

The tanker drivers are reportedly upset that their wage negotiations are yet to start, and a representational rights poll has not been held for the Petroleum Tanker Drivers' Association to be recognised as their trade union. The association is affiliated to the Union of Administrative, Clerical and Supervisory Employees (UCASE).

There are indications that the tanker drivers have been trying without success, to get direct union representation for a number of years now, with the experience having been very frustrating.

The situation has led to the drivers insisting that it is now or never, with a determination to realise success at any logistical cost this time around.

They are seeking for the Ministry of Labour, the Energy Ministry and the haulage contractors to converge to put an end to the frustration, and hammer out an acceptable outcome for all, including the drivers.

They have reportedly declared that they will continue their protest action until the matter has been resolved.

The Jamaica Gasoline Retailers' Association (JGRA),  which it is understood is in solidarity with the tanker drivers, has reportedly cited the supply dislocations that are anticipated from the protest action, with the full impact being expected by Thursday, if the strike continues.

An important consideration in the matter is that Wednesdays are usually non-delivery days at Petrojam, with the refinery being closed. However, there are reports that the refinery is prepared to open outside of its normal schedule if the tankers are available for loading.

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