Mkpoikana Udoma 25 January 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, have warned an indigenous oil servicing firm, Specialty Drilling Fluid Limited, SDF, to desist from anti-labour practices against its workers or face the full wrath of the labour unions.
PENGASSAN also called on the Rivers State government, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and the members of the public to prevail on the Managing Director of SDF, Mr. Tony Eze, to pay workers their entitlements before the matter snowballed into a national issue.
Speaking at a joint press briefing in Port Harcourt, the Port Harcourt Zonal Chairman of PENGASSAN, Mr. Azubuike M. Azubuike, claimed that the management of SDF has not paid its workers’ salaries and allowances since September 2016 till date, and has also refused to implement the agreements reached on June 10, 2016 during a mediation meeting involving the Federal Ministry of Labour, PENGASSAN/NUPENG and the TUC.
Azubuike explained that the issue degenerated in the last meeting held on January 17, 2017, which was presided over by the South South Zonal Director of the Federal Ministry of Labour, Mrs. Udeme Akpan, as the management of SDF demonstrated so much high handedness and unwillingness to resolve the issues.
According to him, “We wish to draw the attention of the general public over the unfair labour practices orchestrated by the Managing Director of Specialty Drilling Fluids Limited, Dr. Tony Eze.
“At the end of the mediation meeting on June 10, 2016, the following issues were agreed for implementation but up till now these issues have not been implemented. The issues are payment of all outstanding financial entitlements of our members (10 percent annual increments of 2014, 2015 and 2016; Christmas bonus of 2014, 2015 and 2016); review of the subsisting CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) which expired on April 30, 2014; issuance of employment letters to the company’s contract workers who had meritoriously served for more than six months; payments of resignees’ terminal benefits from 2008 till date; and no victimisation of union members as a result of the embarked strike action”.
He noted: “While we were on a peaceful picketing on December 15, 2016, the Managing Director of SDF brought hired thugs and uniform policemen who intimidated, harassed and battered our members for the picketing, causing bodily injuries to our members.
“Unfortunately, Dr. Tony Eze flogged our members with horse whips and water-cane, thereby inflicting injuries on them. We have a video evidence on this.”
Also speaking, TUC chairman in Rivers State, Mr. Austin Jonah, said the congress and its affiliate unions would support whatever action PENGASSAN decided to take on the matter.
Jonah regretted that indigenous oil firms flout the Local Content Law and victimise Nigerian workers with impunity despite several directives by the Minister of Labour and Employment.
When contacted by our correspondent on the telephone, the Managing Director of Specialty Drilling Fluid Limited, Dr. Eze, said he was not aware of any issue with PENGASSAN, and declined further comments.
25 January 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos –