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Libya’s NOC Faces Labor Strike Demanding Wage Raise

Libya’s NOC Faces Labor Strike Demanding Wage Raise

Saturday, 8 December, 2018 - 12:30
Pipelines are seen at the industrial zone at the oil port of Brega, Libya, January 12, 2017. (Reuters)
Cairo – Jamal Jawhar
The Libya National Oil Corporation (NOC) has informed the country’s Finance Ministry of the need to expand its budget spending in 2019 to support a 67 percent wage increase for energy sector workers that was approved in 2013.

Protests broke out in nine oilfields and some ports as workers went on strike to demand an increase in wages.

Over the past months, workers at the Al-Zwaitina seaport listed their demands from the NOC, stressing the need for health insurance coupled with an increase in pay rates.

The NOC said it had agreed to provide medical coverage for all workers last year and instructed its subsidiaries to go ahead with the policy after it had halted health insurance in 2015.

A worker at El Sharara oil field, located in the southern Murzuq Desert, said that the labor force there faces "injustice".

“We head to work every day despite the difficult and dangerous environment surrounding the field,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity.

He noted the dangers oilfield workers face, especially from armed African bandits who frequently kidnap and rob employees headed to work in the desert.

“Wages are petty and rarely paid on time ... and we have families and obligations,” the worker complained.

Libya’s crude oil production has fallen by about 300,000 bpd since the start of this month on the back of oil export terminal shutdowns amid harsh weather and full storage tanks, a Reuters report said, citing a statement from the NOC.

Libya has been suffering severe rainfall that closed all its oil export terminals along with roads and the airport in Benghazi. Flooding and high waves on the coast made the docking of tankers impossible, stranding more oil in storage.

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