PENGASSAN declares ‘total shutdown’ as strike commences

*A member of PENGASSAN.

*A member of PENGASSAN.

…As Govt shifts meeting with oil workers to Friday

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

08 July 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Federal government has announced that the meeting originally scheduled for Thursday with oil workers would resolve their differences about irregular joint venture funding, cash call payments, Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and others has been shifted to Friday following the extension of Eid-el-Fitr public holiday.

According to a statement from the Deputy Director, Press, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Prince Samuel Olowookere, “In consideration of the season and national holidays, the conciliation meeting has been rescheduled.”

Olowookere added that, “The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, and the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, will now hold the crucial meeting with Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) tomorrow to put a lasting solution to the lingering problems in the oil and gas sector.

“The meeting is now slated for tomorrow Friday 8thJuly, 2016 at Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Minister’s Board Room, 11th Floor, NNPC Towers, Abuja by 11:00am prompt.

“The Ministers appeals to the entire leadership of PENGASSAN to stay intended strike in view of on-going negotiations and in the spirit of social dialogue.”

But, in defiance of government’s position. the leadership of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, announced that it has commenced its strike, even as it stressed that the strike action would be a total shut down.

Speaking to the media yesterday, PENGASSAN’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Emma Ojugbana, said there was no sign to the effect that the strike would be shelved.

Ojugbana, who said he was not aware of any scheduled meeting with the government today, stated: “The strike started today. I am not aware of any meeting organised by anybody with our association. Our leaders in various zones are mobilising and it will start midnight today.”

He said the association had been engaging with the government over Joint Venture Funding and the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, which was pending at the National Assembly, among other issues, without any positive result from the side of the government.

According to him, PENGASSAN had scheduled to meet with the Minister of State for Petroleum and immediate past Group Managing Director, GMD, of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on June 30. Unfortunately, the meeting could not hold as the leaders of the oil and gas sector were told, when they got to Abuja, that the minister was away on an assignment.

He said the association planned the action because of government’s insensitivity to the oil and gas sector, which is the mainstay of the nation’s economy.

Ojugbana said the strike, which would paralyse socio-economic activities nationwide, would involve the upstream and downstream sectors as well as the loading and export sector. “It is going to be a total shut down,” he said.

 

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