Posted by News Express | 7 July 2016 | 2,315 times
A strike action proposed by members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has been postponed.
The strike was expected to begin, today, Thursday July 7.
However, leaders of the oil workers union say the action is being put on hold until their leadership is able to meet with the government delegation to table their grievances.
The leadership of PENGASSAN had issued a statement on Tuesday, July 5, asking the union leaders in their various zones to mobilise their members for a total strike.
Emmanuel Ojugbana, the group’s spokesperson said chairmen and secretaries in its four zones and branches have concluded plans to ensure a complete shutdown of the country’s oil and gas industry operations and activities.
Ojugbana said since the directive, its members have been meeting to fine-tune strategies towards the strike, with its key officers holding their final meeting on Wednesday.
“In the meeting, the method of the gradual shutdown of the industry was critically examined and adopted by the members. The action, which will cripple all activities and operations in the oil and gas sector, will affect all the sub-sectors,” he said.
The union is accusing the Federal Government of deliberately frustrating its efforts to resolve issues bothering on the recent disengagement of some of their staff in some oil corporations as well as poor welfare of oil workers.
PENGASSAN is also accusing the Federal Government of failing to honor negotiation meetings set up on June 23rd and 30th.
Urging Nigerians and industry operators who would be affected by the action to show understanding, the spokesperson said the industrial action was critical to the survival of the oil and gas industry, which remains the mainstay of the country’s economy.
In the meantime, members of other oil unions such as the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Petroleum Equalisation Fund (Monitoring Board) PEF (MB), Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), oil majors, labour and contract services companies, and petroleum products marketing companies has signified their plans to also join the strike.
PENGASSAN’s acting general secretary, Lumumba Okugbawa, has said the association’s demands were not selfish, as they bordered on issues that would guarantee the continued survival of the oil and gas industry and the country’s economy.
Okugbawa listed some of the issues to include backlog of cash call arrears dating back to 2014, which he said had greatly hampered the ability of the joint venture partners with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to discharge their obligations both to the industry and their workers.
Other issues include the poor state of the country’s refineries and the massive waste of resources on turn around maintenance (TAM); continued importation of petroleum products; on-going industry reforms and NNPC restructuring as well as the politicisation of the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
Just Last month, PENGASSAN had threatened a strike action over the retrenchment of some of its members by oil companies.
The group had given the Nigerian government a seven-day ultimatum to wade into the matter or face total strike action.
Over the past few months, oil companies have laid off thousands, cut production and even closed operations as they struggle with Nigeria’s ailing economy.
Nigeria, which is Africa’s biggest economy and top oil producer, has been hit hard by the slump in oil revenues, its lifeblood.
The country relies on crude sales for about 70 percent of its government revenues.
•Source: tv360nigeria. Photo shows Petroleum Minister of State Ibe Kachikwu.
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