afrol News, 15 April - Workers in the Gabon oil-industry have continued in the second day with their strike, despite a call by government for negotiations. Unions demand an end to discrimination of Gabonese labour.
The Gabonese workers started the mass action yesterday complaining mainly of expatriate workers being given preference by oil companies, over the locals.
The workers have also claimed that there are enough local workers who are capable and skilled enough to handle some of the positions that are being offered preferably only to foreigners at high costs for the industry.
The labour union spokesperson was quoted in the national radio in Libreville saying that the strike had affected all parts of the country, with other reports also pointing out that since yesterday, oil production has been greatly affected in Gabon at large.
Gabonese oil workers have rather high salaries compared to colleagues in most other African countries. However, the costs of living in Gabon are sky-high as the country's economy has been driven by oil production for decades, and the many expatriates in Gabon have strongly contributed to imports and inflation.
Gabon is one of Africa's main oil producers alongside other producers such as Nigeria, Angola, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea and Congo Brazzaville, with an estimated production of over 230 barrels per day of crude.
Oil production in Gabon peaked in the 1990s, but is still substantial. Gabon is still attracting major exploration investments and new oil discoveries are regularly made onshore and offshore, mostly of minor size however.
Gabonese authorities, who faced a liquidity crisis four years ago and turned to the IMF for help and advice, have tried to lessen the country's dependence on oil over the last decade. But Gabon still heavily depends on its oil production, which is now halted by the strike.
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