LIBREVILLE Gabon oil workers will stay at home from Thursday over concerns about potential violence when a court delivers a final verdict on the central African country's disputed election result, their union said.
The statement, signed by the union's deputy secretary general, Sylvain Mayabi Binet, added that the minimum service at Gabon oil installations will be assured by "expatriate staff whose families are not exposed to the danger of likely unrest".
Riots erupted after results from an Aug. 27 election handed victory to incumbent President Ali Bongo by fewer than 6,000 votes, extending a half-century dynasty that has been in place since his father took power in 1967.
Presidential rival Jean Ping has denounced the poll as a fraud and the Constitutional Court has until Friday to decide on Ping's complaint.
Gabon produces around 200,000 barrels a day, its main producers being Total and Shell.
"If there is a refusal to secure installations ... the workers will leave them at the employer's risk," Binet said, adding: "Forcing workers to stay on site, against their will ... would be to expose installations to all kinds of risks."
Authorities are stepping up security in the capital Libreville, where much of this month's violence occurred.
They warned opposition leader Jean Ping on Wednesday that he risked arrest if unrest resumes when the Constitutional Court rules on his challenge.
(Reporting by Gerauds Wilfried Obangome; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by David Goodman)