By Umar Khan.
Tripoli, 14 November:
Some 150 workers of Waha Oil Company at the Sidra Oil Export terminal went on strike on . . .[restrict]Tuesday, over a range of pay and contract demands.
The terminal, which has a capacity of 400,000 bpd, has reportedly not yet been shut down completely. The company today sent a team from its Tripoli headquarters to Sidra to try and reach a settlement with the strikers before the flow of oil is stopped.
Two of the strike leaders, Hamad Ferjani and Awad Bakuri told the Libya Herald that the workers had 12 demands.
They include a review of working hours, better overtime allocation, more authority for section heads to enable swift decisions, an end to jihad tax deductions, a management review, improved security, transport and living standards, better communication services, the revision of contracts and the early completion of the health insurance arrangements.
Awad Bakuri said the demands were fundamental. The employees did not want to stop the refinery but if the company would not listen, they would be obliged to strike:
“We came back to work for the country straight after the liberation and kept asking for reforms. We were assured many times, verbally, that changes would be made. But nothing was given in writing, which meant management would always say a different thing some weeks later. This time if the chairman doesn’t give written orders, accepting our demands, we will be left with no choice but to stop the production and exports.”
According to Bakuri, the majority of the workers is supporting the demands. “Around 150 employees currently working in the Sidra terminal are taking part in the strike. Our demands are basic and have been promised to be accepted by the managers at different times but they always backtrack from their statement. If they now they accept our demands, then we will keep working otherwise we will be forced to take the drastic step of halting the export operations.”