14 May 2016, Lagos — The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, may have undermined the threat of a showdown by the leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress over the removal of petrol subsidy.
Instead, the two oil workers unions on Friday commended the Federal Government for removing subsidy on petrol. They, however, demanded a new minimum wage of N90,000.
The unions’ position was stated in a communiqué issued at the end of a National Executive Council of PENGASSAN and NUPENG in Calabar, Cross River.
The communiqué was jointly signed by Mr Francis Olabode-Johnson, President of PENGASSAN and his counterpart of NUPENG, Dr Igwe Achese.
Welcoming the petrol price increase, the workers stated that the measure would benefit Nigerians in the nearest future.
“After a joint meeting of NUPENG and PENGASSAN, we hereby applaud the Federal Government for the removal of subsidy to create a way for private participation in the oil and gas sector.
“We will seek negotiation with the Federal Government in order to monitor the proceeds that would accrue from the price increase.
“It is not all about price increase; we must monitor the proceeds and ensure that it is being re-invested into critical sectors of the economy.
“We will watch with keen interest how the money that would accrue from the increase would be implemented to better the lives of Nigerians,’’ the communiqué said.
According to it, Nigerians have been yearning for the removal of subsidy for many years now but to no avail.
“The price is the secondary issue; the Federal Government has brought up a policy that would stop money from entering into the hands of few individuals.
“The subsidy removal is a welcome development; we must not mortgage our economy into the hands of few selfish individuals,’’ the workers said.
The unions, however, said that they would push for a new minimum wage demand of N90, 000, given the new development.
“With the new pump price of N145 per litre, the government must speed up the negotiation process for a new minimum wage of N90, 000 to cushion the effect of the envisaged inflation.
“As the price of fuel increases, there should also be an increment in workers’ salary as the old minimum wage of N18, 000 has no effect again,’’ they stated.
NAN reports that both unions condemned the renewed spate of pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta, and urged the government to check the illegalities of the militants.
They also urged the government not to sell refineries to private individuals as scrap, but should grant full financial autonomy to the management of the refineries for optimal production.