Petroleum Scarcity Looms As Oil Workers Threaten Fresh Strike

Oil workers under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have threatened to resume their suspended strike if the Federal Government refused to enforce the implementation of the tripartite agreement reached with them and other partners in the industry.

In a letter dated August 22, 2016 to the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, the acting General Secretary, PENGASSAN, Lumumba Okugbawa, said the agreement, signed over a month ago, had not been implemented.

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 union urged the minister to intervene, by prevailing on the defaulting parties to implement the agreement to avert another round of nationwide strike.

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).

The letter read in part, “It is over a month now since the last Communique 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 on 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 companies refusing to honour their own part of the agreement to include 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.

PENGASSAN National Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojugbana, said the agreement must be honoured, as it was the basis the oil workers called off the last national strike.

“There is nothing preventing the managements of the companies from respecting signed agreements as contained in the communiqué,” Mr. Ojugbana said.

“This is not a pronouncement by the union, 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 ready to do so.”

Mr. Ojugbana called on NAPIMS to take steps in ensuring that these managements implement the agreement while also calling on the Ministers of Petroleum 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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