31 July 2014, Lagos – Protesting of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, yesterday crippled operations at the head office of Addax Petroleum in Lagos over unresolved labour issues.
The protesting workers who stormed the company’s offices as early at 6a.m, chanted solidarity songs and prevented management and others from gaining access into the premises.
It was gathered that besides the issue of protracted negotiation on improved condition of service, the management allegedly locked out the President of PENGASSAN who had gone to the company to mediate in the negotiation.
The protesters claimed the company was insensitive to the health and safety concerns in its operational areas, career progression and development as well as undue delay of ongoing collective bargaining agreement, CBA, which had been on for eight months.
They demanded that the company’s management addressed all health and safety concerns and promotion issues raised.Addressing the protesters, PENGASSAN branch Chairman in Addax Petroleum, Kingsley Onoyom, accused the management of high handedness on issues of health and safety of the workers, saying “We have registered our concern on the offshore transportation system and feeding at the Izombe Flow Station but the management has refused to do anything to fix the problem.
”He alleged that many members had not been promoted in the last eight years, while some were on the same job without promotion for 15 years.
According to him, “We have done everything to ensure that the management close the negotiation of our Collective Bargaining Agreement that started since November last year but instead management continues to delay the CBA and this is affecting our morale and productivity. When our national secretariat (PENGASSAN National Secretariat) tried to mediate and ensure that the negotiation continues and is closed early, the management embarrassed our national officers by denying them entry.
”Similarly, Lagos Zonal Chairman of PENGASSAN, Abel Agarin, said the management should fix a meeting for the conclusion of the prolonged CBA negotiation for Friday and there must be a commitment from the management to meet all the demands of the workers before suspending the picketing.
Reacting to the picketing in a statement, Mrs Dorothy Atake, General Manager, External & Government Affairs, said “Addax Petroleum Development (Nigeria) Limited regrets to confirm that a public demonstration led by the Lagos Zone of Pengassan took place today( yesterday). The demonstration is as a result of industrial relations issues between the Management and the Association.”Engagements are on-going at the National, Zonal and Branch levels of PENGASSAN to reach amicable resolutions in the interest of all parties.”Management is committed to dialogue and it is expected that PENGASSAN will continue with current engagements so that all issues can be resolved harmoniously.”