PENGASSAN threatens strike over non implementation of agreement

*Petrol dispencer.

*Fuell pump nozzle.

Kunle Kalejaye

02 September 2016, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Nigeria may be plunged into another round of fuel crisis if the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, makes good its threat to resume a suspended strike action if the Federal Government refuses to enforce the implementation of an agreement reached among the tripartite partners in the industry.

A letter addressed to the Minister of Labour and Productivity dated August 22, 2016, and signed by the acting General Secretary, PENGASSAN, Comrade Lumumba Ighotemu Okugbawa, stated that since the agreement was signed over a month ago, there hasn’t been enough progress or commitment towards implementing the terms of the agreement.

The union, therefore, urged the Minister to intervene by calling on the defaulting managements who have refused to implement the agreement to order so as to avert another round of nationwide strike.

PENGASSAN expressed dismay over the disobedience of the directive from the Federal Government by managements of these companies.

Copies of the letter were sent to the Director-General of the State Security Services (SSS), the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the General Manager of the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS).

According to PENGASSAN, the agreement was reached at the end of the conciliation meetings held at the instance of the Federal Minister of Labour and Employment with PENGASSAN, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and other stakeholders on July 12, 14 and 21, 2016 in Abuja.

The letter read in part, “It is over a month now since the last Communiqué was reached and we can say in summation that no much progress has been achieved. This, of course, is making our members restive and we are under tremendous pressure to bring about a total resolution of all the contending issues.

“We are constrained therefore to note with great dismay that most of the companies are foot-dragging and have resorted to time-wasting tactics in order to deliberately frustrate the process.

“We are therefore based on the above, requesting that you use your good office to intervene by calling on the managements of these companies to quickly implement these resolutions as it affects them. Else we will be left with no alternative than to succumb to the pressure from our members and do what needs to be done in furtherance of our mandate.”

The union listed the companies that have refused to honour their own parts of the agreement reached during the various engagements among the tripartite. The managements of the oil and gas companies are Mobil Producing Nigeria Contract Staff Forum, Fugro Nigeria Limited, Petrostuff Nigeria, Tecon, Frontier Oil Limited, Universal Energy Resources Limited, Pan Ocean, Halliburton Energy Services Nigeria Limited, CISCON, and Baker Hughes, among others.

Speaking on the issue, PENGASSAN National Public Relations Officer, Comrade Emmanuel Ojugbana, explained that the agreement was signed as a prerequisite to calling off the last national strike by the union, adding that there is nothing preventing the managements of the companies from respecting signed agreements as contained in the communiqué.

He noted, “This is not a product of pronouncement but an agreement reached by all stakeholders including the managements of the companies involved. I don’t see any reason why it is difficult for them to respect this agreement as contained in the communiqué.

“If the companies know that they cannot obey the constitution of Nigeria, the extant labour laws of our country and other relevant authorities in government, they should just pack and leave the business for those that are ready to do so.”

Comrade Ojugbana called on NAPIMS to take a step towards ensuring that these managements implement the agreement while also calling on the Ministers of Petroleum Resources as well as its Labour and Employment counterpart to intervene so as not to plunge the Nation into another fuel crisis.

He also urged well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the erring managements of these companies to respect a legally signed agreement and do the needful to prevent Nigerians from suffering.

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