Nigeria: PENGASSAN threatens strike over anti-labour policies



Oscarline Onwuemenyi

21 June 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Oil workers under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, have threatened to shut down operations and activities in the nation’s oil and gas industry if some employers in the industry do not stop their anti-labour practices.

The senior staff trade union in a statement on Saturday gave a seven-day ultimatum during which time employers should end all anti-labour practices in their companies or risk an industrial action that would totally ground the oil and gas industry.

The union is accusing some organisations in the industry of sacking some of its members without the relevant terms of theĀ agreement.

The spokesperson of union, Emmanuel Ojugbana, said despite the tripartite agreement between the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, employers, and the two trade unions in the industry – PENGASSAN and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), some employers still went ahead to sack its members, including some national officers.

Ojugbana said despite the agreement that employers should put on hold redundancy in the industry, the managements of some service companies, namely Fugro, Universal Energy, Frontier Services and Petrostuff, went ahead to sack their workers.’

“I want to reiterate our demands that the Federal Government and the concern organisations including H15, IEME Chevron, Universal Energy, Chevron Contracts Tecon and Avion Oil and Fugro should resolve the critical industrial relation issues in their companies, particularly in the recent retrenchment in Fugro and Petrostuff should be reversed.

“Let us stated unequivocally that industrial peace in the oil and gas sector will not be guaranteed if these issues, especially the retrenchment in Fugro, are not resolved within seven days effective Monday, June 20, 2016,” he said.

He said as a major interested party in the industry, the oil workers asking the National Petroleum Investment Management Services to direct that a clear policy statement be established against frequent redundancy plans by operators under the guise of fluctuating crude oil prices.

Other industrial issues raised by the Association include the need to review the lingering irregular Joint Venture funding and Cash Call payment arrears, lack of a clear cut direction on the Petroleum Industry Bill currently pending before the National Assembly and forcefully co-opting government agencies in the industry into the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System.

The PENGASSAN spokesman said that apart from the arrears, the current cash-call payment suffers undue delays, such even when paid, was much below the approved value consideration of JV commitment, including staff salaries.

“The effect of non-payment has led to thousands of job losses across the sectors and non-creation of new jobs against the backdrop of the electoral promises of employment generation by the current government. A stitch in time saves nine,” he said.

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