By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 2 September 2013:
Over a hundred oil sector workers protested outside Congress today, demanding that the General National Congress . . .[restrict](GNC) and the government reopen the country’s oil fields and export terminals.
Members of the Oil and Gas Sector Workers Union (OGSWU), in cooperation with civil society organisations, said they were taking to the streets as a last resort. All other attempts to get the authorities to act had, they said, failed.
“We are protesting peacefully, after getting permission from Tripoli Security Directorate, to condemn the shutdown of oil fields and terminals all over Libya,” a member of the OGSWU media office, Hassan Qalfat, told the Libya Herald.
The protesters were demanding that all oil fields and export terminals be reopened, Qalfat said, and that the government establish security to protect the country’s hydrocarbon workers. They also want legislation put in place to prevent similar protests being able to effectively halt the country’s oil exports.
After weeks of strikes and protests that have left only two of the country’s oil terminals functioning, Libya’s oil exports have now dropped to 160,000 barrels of oil per day (p/d).
Qalfat pointed out that the oil sector workers were an important part of Libyan society. He said most of them joined the revolution early on, then quickly resumed work in “oil battle fields.” He pointed out that, after the revolution, the country’s oil workers had surprised the expectations of all international observers by rapidly getting production back up to pre-revolution levels.
He called upon local people living near oil fields and export terminals to help resolve the Petroleum Facilities Guard disputes over pay and conditions with direct action. The country was reliant on hydrocarbon exports, he pointed out, and the oil facilities belonged to all Libyans. [/restrict]