By Ashraf Abdul Wahab.
Tripoli, 4 November 2013:
A week-long teachers’ strike in Zawia has overflowed into a blockade of the town’s refinery.
This . . .[restrict]morning the teachers used vehicles to block the refinery main entrance, reinforcing their handiwork with barricades.
Some two thousand people work shifts at the facility. “They are letting people out” one employee at the plant to the Libya Herald, “ but they are not letting anyone go back in. And of course no trucks can get in or out, so there are no deliveries of fuel for Brega Oil or Akakus”.
The refinery has a design capacity to process 125,000 b/d of crude and is the main supplier to Tripoli. It was apparently still working today but it is not known what spare storage capacity is available within the site.
The striking teachers have been demanding the payment of allowances that they maintain they have been due since April. The protests are symptomatic of wider dissatisfaction among the teaching profession. For instance in September teachers in Shuwarif took to the town square demanding ,not only extra allowance that they had been promised, but also that their basic salaries should actually be paid on time
There are reports that trainees with the National Oil Company may also have joined in the teachers’ industrial action, not only in Zawia but in Sabratha and Zuara, where a protest was held yesterday in front of the Mellitah Oil Company offices. Other groups of young NOC trainees are believed to be planning some form of protest in both Sirte and Benghazi. Their complaint is that they are not being paid a living wage. Many of them are reportedly former revolutionary fighters who chose to return to civilian life.