Mkpoikana Udoma 25 May 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – A call has been made to oil workers under the aegis of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, to always adopt negotiation in labour disputes, instead of shutting down the nation by regular strikes.
A University Don, Prof. Max Ndu Aguibe, made the call on Wednesday, while speaking at the fifth Port Harcourt Zonal Triennial Delegates’ Conference of PENGASSAN held in Owerri, Imo State capital.
Professor Aguibe speaking on the topic, ‘good governance and industrial relations in economic recession,’ also task the oil workers to use their position to push for good governance for the country.
He urged PENGASSAN to preserved and not wreck the interest of the Nigerian public in terms of social, economic, security and other strategic institutions, while in the course of pushing to protect the interest of its members.
“Because of the strategic position you (PENGASSAN) occupy in the national economy and general welfare of the Nigeria people, it is expected of you to prefer always a negotiated approach to disputes, instead of shutting down the nation by regular strike actions which paralyze all other sectors of the economy, and grind to a halt all economic and social activities, thereby worsening the suffering of the masses.
“Whenever PENGASSAN and her sister union, NUPENG, are involved in a trade dispute, it injects immediate repercussion in all facets of national life. A simple notice of a strike action by you is regarded by government and the entire citizenry as notice of impending national crises.”
Aguibe, who is a professor of law at the University of Calabar, blamed recession on the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, for instilling fear and lack of confidence on investors due to its massive corruption.
The university don who described recession as a period of exceptional distress for labour, leaders and for the common man, explained that lack of good governance drove the Nation’s economy into recession.
“PENGASSAN functions in the critical area of our national economy, the oil and gas industry, under the general supervision of the NNPC and it’s coordinating Ministry of Petroleum Resources; when constant allegations of massive corruption is levelled against NNPC which is the major institution that sustains our economy to the tune of almost 85prcent, negative public perception of the ethical policy requirement of the government is rated zero by both foreign and local investors. The rest of the story is – lack of confidence in the economy.
“Central bank help to cause recession by the way they manage, or mismanaged, money supply and government spending as well as how they manage or mismanaged, foreign exchange reserves. We have seen how millions of dollars released by the Central Bank of Nigeria ended up not in the economy but idle in private warehouses and apartment buildings in Lagos, Abuja and many other places yet to be discovered.”
Earlier, the National President of PENGASSAN, Mr. Francis Olabode Johnson, in his speech said that the union will not rest on its oars to ensure that the Petroleum Industry Bill is passed.
Johnson also call on various management to strictly adhere to implementation of the guidelines on contract and casual staffing in the oil and gas industry and ensure that all employees are treated equally.
“Our position as labour is that any employment model or policy that is found to be deceptively exploitative with tendency to degrade jobs, as obtained in causualisation and contract employment will be resisted.
“Just as we had done in the course of our tenure by ensuring that we brought back our members who were unjustly and unprocedurally severed from their jobs; let me restate our resolve to continue to frontally engage employers who indulge in redundancy without engaging the national secretariat of our association.”