10 January 2014, Sweetcrude, Lagos – THE Federal Government and organized labour in the Petroleum industry are to work out practicable business models and strategies for the four public refineries in Nigeria.
This was part of an agreement reached between the Federal and Government and labour under the umbrella of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) and its Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN).
As part of the agreement, while government has jettison its earlier planned to privatize the refineries, the two unions have equally called off the planned to declare an indefinite nationwide strike over the planned sale.
The government would now work with the unions in the oil sector to formulate workable business models and strategies for the refineries.
At a meeting by representatives of parties, it was also resolved that the Turn Around Maintenance (TMA) which is already in process by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources would be continued.
The meeting was called by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, to apprehend the looming industrial unrest in oil and gas sector, the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy.
In attendance were his Petroleum Resources counterpart, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, President of NUPENG, Comrade Igwe Achese, President of PENGASSAN, Comrade Babatunde Ogun, Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries Labour and Petroleum Resources, Dr. Clement Illoh and Mr. Danladi Kefasi and national executive members of the two unions.
The agreement which was read by the Labour Minister, was signed by the Alison-Madueke, NUPENG and PENGASSAN Presidents, Igwe Achese and Babatunde Ogun and the General Secretaries of the union.
According to the agreement, “Trade unions in the oil and gas sector of the economy namely NUPENG and PENGASSAN have agreed with the federal government to engage in social dialogue to develop viable and workable business models for the nation’s refineries. Based on the above understanding, the trade unions in the oil and gas sector shall not embark on any form of industrial actions over the subject matter.”
NUPENG and PENGASSAN had threatened to shut down the sector indefinitely should government fail to reverse the planned sale of the nation’s four refineries.
In his remarks at the opening of the meeting, Wogu said: “We want to find a common ground to resolve the problems in the oil and gas sector, you all know the issues at stake but we would ensure that we reach a compromise to avert any strike in the sector.”
Alison-Madueke on her part, said the meeting with the oil unions was ‘absolutely critical’ on topical issues raised in the last few days.