Fuel Crisis Looms As Oil Workers Begin Strike - EazyFeeds

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Friday, 8 July 2016

Fuel Crisis Looms As Oil Workers Begin Strike

Nigerians are uneasily bracing up for another round the gruelling fuel crisis as oil workers under the aegis of the  Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria ( PENGASSAN) yesterday commenced an industrial action to press home their various demands from the federal government.

The union has announced the gradual withdrawal of its members on the offshore, loading bays and flow stations.

But debunking a media report in one of the television stations which claimed that the strike had been called off, the association said that the strike had actually begun despite the Eid el-Fitr public holidays declared by the federal government.

A statement by PENGASSAN’s national public relations officer, Comrade Emmanuel Ojugbana, declared that “there is no iota of truth in the report that the strike has been called off or suspended. As we are speaking now, some of our members in the offshore have been withdrawn, while others who are on critical equipment have commenced gradual shutting down of such equipment before their final disengagement.

“Our members, especially those in offices and downstream sector, will join tomorrow (Friday) as they resume from the Eid el-Fitr holiday.”

Comrade Ojugbana reiterated that the strike was aimed at pressing home PENGASSAN’s demands for government’s attention to some critical challenges affecting the survival of the nation’s oil and gas industry.

He listed some of the challenges to include lingering irregular Joint Venture (JV) 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 the spate of redundancy and retrenchments in the oil and gas industry.

He also said that the union could not meet with government as a result of short time given to it as it has mobilise the members.

FG tells Oil Workers To Halt Strike, to meet union on Monday

The federal government has appealed to the PENGASSAN leadership to halt its intended industrial action and embrace dialogue.

Meanwhile, the meeting earlier scheduled for yesterday between the government team and PENGASSAN will now hold on Monday.

A statement from the deputy director (Press) in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Samuel Olowookere, reads in part: “In consideration of the season and national holidays, the conciliation meeting has been rescheduled.`

“The minister of labour and employment, Chris Nwabueze Ngige, and the minister of state, Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, will now hold the crucial meeting with PENGASSAN on Monday to find a lasting solution to the lingering problems in the oil and gas sector.

“The ministers appeals to the entire leadership of PENGASSAN to stay the intended strike in view of ongoing negotiations and in the spirit of social dialogue.”

PENGASSAN president, Olabode Johnson, confirmed to journalists that a meeting had been scheduled for Monday.

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