NOC and oil workers protest after 67% pay rise not included in 2019 budget
On 20 March, the Government of National Accord (GNA) officially endorsed the new 2019 budget – otherwise called the ‘financial arrangements’ as it has technically not been approved by the legislature, the House of Representatives (HoR) – totalling 46.8 billion Libyan dinars (LYD). Though the total wage bill increased by 3 billion LYD from 2018 to 25.2 billion (more than half the total budget), the National Oil Corporation (NOC) received no share of the wage increases. This is despite GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj reportedly assuring NOC chairman Mustafa Sanallah that oil workers would receive the 67% wage increase.
In response, an oil sector labour movement called the “67%” movement or “Sabaa Wa Siteen” appeared to be gaining momentum throughout last week, demanding an immediate salary increase. The issue of pay rises has been a long-standing source of grievance among oil workers for several years. Despite Sanallah’s documented efforts to persuade the GNA to grant the funds, many oil workers feel he and the board have not done enough. As a result, protests and strikes are possible at various ports and fields across the country in the short-medium term. Locations that are likely to be most vulnerable (based on previously strained relations between staff and management and involvement in the “67%” movement) include Sharara, Mellitah complex, and fields in the Jalu oasis.