PENGASSAN insists strike action was successful

*Fuel queue.

*Fuel queue.

…Fuel stations open around FCT

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

10 July 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Even as several filling station operating within the Federal Capital Territory remained open for business, the leadership of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) is at pains to show that there was total compliance by its members of the to the directive to embark on an indefinite strike on Friday.

The workers started the strike four days ago on Thursday, 6th of July 2016. PENGASSAN has stated that many of its members complied with the strike directive by staying away from their offices.

In a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja by the national Public Relations Office of PENGASSAN, Comrade Emmanuel Ojugbana said few members that reported for duty early Friday were turned back from the NNPC Towers, except for NUPENG members and management staff who went about their normal duties.

According to him, there was total compliance in government agencies, as staff stayed away from their offices. In Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NNRA), Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) and the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEFMB) headquarters, virtually all offices were locked.

He noted that “In Port Harcourt, the strike was also successful, as many members were not in their offices. The monitoring team that went round the city reported that members in NNPC office, the Port Harcourt Refinery Company (PHRC), Shell and Total fully complied with the strike order.

“At the NNPC depot in Port Harcourt, the management of the depot initially tried to use Industrial Trainees (IT) and contract staff to load/off load fuel trucks but before 12 noon, the leadership of the depot were called to order and the loading was stopped.”

The statement added that at the Warri zone, there was total compliance, except for members in Chevron, who early in the morning of yesterday were in their offices but later joined by vacating their offices around 10a.m. “There was no lifting of petroleum products in Warri or anywhere in the zone as our members fully complied with the strike directive,” a source among the monitoring team said.

Members of the Association in Lagos also stayed away from their offices and there was no lifting of petroleum products at the depots and loading bays. Even those at the jetties and other critical sections where crude are lifted in Port Harcourt and Lagos also abandoned their duty posts.

Ojugbana stressed that in Kaduna, there was total compliance with the strike directive, as members stayed out of their offices. Most offices in the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) were empty and there was no lifting of petroleum products from the depots. We commend the support of our NUPENG members here who supported PENGASSAN in ensuring that there was total compliance.

Speaking of the strike action, Ojugbanawho also visited some offices in Warri confirming full compliance by members adding that the strike is not only about the members of the Association but about the survival of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.

He said, “the inability of the government to fund the Joint Venture (JV) operations and settle Cash Call arrears has denied the country of new investments, while the existing operations and activities are being stalled. This has resulted in a lack of new job opportunities, while our members, who have been in employments, are losing their jobs because their employers could not meet their salary obligations to them.

“The Union demands the immediate action of Government to address this funding/cash call arrears to avoid the imminent collapse of the industry. The Government must provide feasible guidelines to clear all outstanding payments going forward and evolve a pragmatic system of funding the Joint Venture (JV) operations.”

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