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FG Meets PENGASSAN, NUPENG To Avoid Looming Strike

 

Image result for dr ngige photos                             Dr Ngige, Minister of Labour

 

By Bimbola Oyebola and Magnus Eze, Abuja

 

THE Federal Government will today meet with the Petro­leum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).

The parley aims to stave off an industrial action in the oil and gas sector, as well as seek lasting solution to linger­ing problems in the industry.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige and the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, will lead government’s delegation to the meeting. The meeting will hold at the Ministry of Pe­troleum Resources, NNPC Towers, Abuja.

A statement by the Deputy Director of Press, Mr. Sam­uel Olowookere, expressed the optimism that the meet­ing would proffer enduring solution to the volatile issues plaguing the nation’s oil and gas sector. The two unions backed deregulation of the sector, including the recent hike in pump price of petrol. If the parley fails, PENGAS­SAN signified intent, yesterday, to embark on an indefi­nite, nationwide strike today.

National Public Relations Officer of PENGASSAN, Em­manuel Ojugbana, who insisted that the strike would go on as proposed, denied knowledge of any planned meet­ing with government.

Rather, he said sequel to the memo to all chairmen and secretaries in the four zones and branches on the planned shutdown of the operations and activities in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, all was set for the strike.

“Members met in all the zones to fine-tune the strate­gies and modalities for the strike on Tuesday, while key of­ficers had their meeting on yesterday. In the meeting, the gradual method of shutdown was critically examined and adopted by the members. The action, which will cripple all activities and operations in the oil and gas sector, will affect all the sub sectors as our members in the Depart­ment of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Petroleum Equalisa­tion Fund (Monitoring Board) PEF (MB), Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), National Pe­troleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), oil majors, labour and contract services companies, and petroleum products marketing companies will join in the action.”

Calling for understanding of all Nigerians and operators that would be impacted by the action, Ojugbana said the industrial action is critical to the survival of the oil and gas industry, which currently is the mainstay of the na­tion’s economy. The union had earlier listed some issues for the strike to include lingering irregular Joint Venture funding and Cash Call payment arrears, lack of a clear cut direction on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), forceful co-option of government agencies in the industry into the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IP­PIS), and spate of redundancy and retrenchment in the industry. The association said several efforts to engage the government to forestall the strike were frustrated by the government.

PENGASSAN had stated, “sequel to the above subject, the association tried to engage the federal government on May 24, 2016, which was inconclusive. The engagement was later fixed for June 23, 2016, which did not take place, and again for June 30, 2016, which was unceremoniously cancelled with no date given.”                             The Sun

 

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