x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Enoc workers fear for jobs

Petrol station workers are worried that if Eppco and Enoc are forced out of the emirate, their jobs will go too.

SHARJAH // Workers at Enoc Group petrol stations in Sharjah fear losing their jobs if the company is forced out of the emirate.

The Sharjah Executive Council's 72-hour deadline for the company - which operates both Enoc and Eppco service stations - to resume normal operations expires today. If the stations do not start pumping petrol, the council has said the company will be barred from operating in the emirate.

Such a step appeared increasingly likely yesterday as pumps at the company's Sharjah facilities remained idle, as they have done for weeks.

"We have still not had any communication from our bosses on whether they are closing or staying - all we know is from newspapers," a worker at the Enoc station on Al Arouba Street said.

Only the shops, lubricant-sales and maintenance areas have been operating during the shortage.

"Our supermarket business has also dropped a lot. People don't buy anything when there is no fuel," said a worker at an Enoc station supermarket at Al Khan.

Staff members at several stations said they did not know of any redundancies as yet.

The Sharjah ultimatum has also caused unease among Enoc and Eppco workers in Ajman, who fear a similar scenario in their emirate.

"The problem is that no one talks to us about the situation and plans," said one Eppco worker in Nuaimiya. "I have already started distributing my CV and have a job interview on Sunday."

Eppco and Enoc stations in the Northern Emirates began running out of fuel about a month ago, creating long queues at stations run by other companies, such as Adnoc.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, this week ordered Adnoc to take action. The company has increased its supply by up to 40 per cent in its 59 stations in Sharjah and the other four northern emirates.

Motorists in Sharjah said they were grateful. "We can now start hoping for a time when we can take fuel without waiting so long in queues," said Fakih Ali, 40, a Syrian resident of Al Khan.

Enoc has previously claimed the shortages were caused by technical upgrades to stations , but no such work has been observed. Analysts say the problem stems from federally-regulated petrol prices, which are so low that Enoc stations cannot sell fuel without losing money.

Enoc representatives were not available for comment yesterday.