PENGASSAN loses appeal to reinstate members sacked by Mobil

Innocent Anaba
& Bartholomew Madukwe

02 May 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS— PETROLEUM and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association, PENGASSAN, has lost its appeal at the National Industrial Court, Lagos, against the termination of some of its members’ appointment by Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, MPNU.

PENGASSAN sought an order declaring the termination of the appointment of eight union leaders and members of its Contract Staff Branch of MPNU as unlawful, illegal, and null and void.

Urging the court to order the reinstatement of its members, with payment of their salaries and allowances from the date of their “wrongful termination” till judgment, PENGASSAN noted that the association’s alleged acts of threat and intimidation directed by the oil company, essentially at the executive members, was triggered by the industrial action they embarked on in August 2009.

Dismissing the appeal, the presiding judge, Justice Benedict Kanyip, held that it lacks merit, noting that the Industrial Arbitration Panel, IAP, award is confirmed.
IAP, in its March 24, 2010 verdict, had refused to reinstate the workers.

The court agreed with the arguments of Mobil’s lawyer, Mr. Sunny Omoragbon, that the contract staff members working in the oil company’s locations were not its employees, but PENGASSAN objected to the award.

Omoragbon told the court that the contract workers began agitating for “Equal Pay for Equal Work” with Mobil’s regular workers in January 2006, adding that the workers sought to directly negotiate their grievance with the company, though the respondent is not a party to the employment agreement between the workers and their various Forums of Contractors.

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