Gov’t stops Tema Oil Refinery demo

A demonstration by three labour unions in Tema was averted after the government’s Chief of Staff, Prosper Douglas Bani, intervened.

Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) has been shut down for the past nine months because it cannot raise letters of credit to import crude.

Some oil marketing companies have allegedly been using TOR tanks to store imported refined fuel.

Consequently, the Tema District Council of Labour (TDCL), Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the TOR Unions met the Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive in his office last Tuesday, June 24, to share their grievances with him and to formally announce their planned demonstration against the government.

A reliable source who spoke on condition of anonymity said the following day, Wednesday, June 25, the leaders of the three unions received a phone call from the Chief of Staff asking them to call off the demonstration.

According to the source, Mr Bani promised government’s commitment to addressing TOR’s problems.

The source explained that they suspended the demonstrations, but added that if government fails to address their grievances, they would embark on the demonstration unannounced.

A red banner on a TOR wall read: “TOR/TDCL/TUC: We need crude; TOR must run continuously and Touch one, touch all.”

Speaking to The Finder, some TOR workers expressed disappointment at the situation, saying if government can raise GH₵1.8 billion for Bulk Oil Distributors, it should be able to assist TOR raise letters of credit to lift crude for processing.

The workers demanded that government account for the TOR recovery levy.

In his February State of the Nation address, President John Mahama announced that TOR was close to signing a joint venture agreement with PetroSaudi International and a deal was expected soon.

He said the deal would revamp the operations of TOR to reduce the huge amount of foreign exchange spent on importing finished products. It is not clear when the deal referred to by President Mahama in February would be reached.