The Federal Government will resume discussion with the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the International Oil Companies (IOCs) over the crisis in the oil and gas sector.
PENGASSAN had suspended a six-day industrial action last Wednesday, after the two unions signed agreement with the government after prolong meetings of all the parties involved in the crisis on Monday and Tuesday last week.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, had initiated a conciliatory meeting with the PENGASSAN, NUPENG and the IOCs following the commencement of a national strike by PENGASSAN on Thursday, July 7.
But, the PENGASSAN President, Comrade Olabode Johnson, said the strike was suspended to allow the Federal Government and the International Oil Companies implement the agreement reached and signed with the two unions during the long negotiation, that lasted two days.
While some of the contentious issues were resolved during the negotiations last week, the meeting agreed that other issues that remain unresolved, especially with the issue of Collective Bargaining Agreement, and sack of oils workers without following due process, will continue today and Thursday.
The agreement signed after the last week meetings said: “Most of the IOCs and Indigenous Oil Companies that have laid off workers without passing through the due process of the Law; all agreed to comply and in such cases where the workers had gone on strikes or lock outs by Employers, the meeting directed them to unlock such premises while the actions of Employers have also been put on hold to make for a free and unfettered atmosphere during the negotiations.“Negotiations not concluded today with Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), were all deferred to Tuesday and Thursday 19 and 21 July, 2016.”
However, the PENGASSAN President said the strike was suspended to see how the Federal Government would handle and resolve the pending issues, while the implementation of the agreement signed with them will determined the extent at which peace will reign in the sector.
Among the issues in contention are the 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.