• Threatens to resume strike if…
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has warned all the International Oil Companies (IOCs) who cannot obey the Federal Government’s directive to recall all oil workers sacked without due process to leave the country.
President of PENGASSAN, Comrade Francis Olabode Johnson, told Nigerian Tribune in Abuja that the workers, led by the unions in the oil and gas industry would help such IOCs, who disregard the pronouncement of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, to pack their load and leave the shore of Nigeria.
Comrade Johnson, who frowned at the fragrant disregard of the Nigerian government’s directives and policies by the IOCs, said a situation whereby agencies and oil companies behave as if they are more powerful than the government will no longer be acceptable or tolerated by the PENGASSAN and NUPENG.
Asked on the possibility of implementing the agreement recently reached at a meeting held by the Federal Government with the IOCs and the unions that the workers sacked without due process should be recalled, the PENGASSAN president said: “We had an understanding, but today what we are hearing is that some of them are reneging, especially FUGRO Nig Ltd. I must be specific here. They are reneging.
“If the minister who is standing in for Mr President took a decision and they are reneging, that is an affront on the President of Nigeria. If the president has spoken, represented by the minster, you cannot just come and say you are the Managing Director (MD) of one company and that you cannot do it.
“If you know you cannot do it, we will help you to pack your load and get out of this country. That is where we stand.”
He also warned that the strike embarked two weeks ago was only suspended because of the intervention and mediatory role played by the government, warning that if the oil companies, however, refuse to implement the agreement reached, the union would resume the strike.
“We have been having series of meetings with the government team. But we also want to implore government that a situation that we have agencies and oil companies behaving as if they are more powerful than the government is not acceptable to the union.
“You cannot have an agreement with the minister standing in for the president of the federal republic, and when it’s time to take action, you say no. We only suspended our strike, if these issues are not addressed properly, we may have to resume the strike.
“We don’t like taking that route and that is why we are imploring every agency of government that whatever agreement reached must be respected. We will abide by our side of the agreement but if they are not ready to honour theirs, we will have no choice than to resume,” Johnson said.
However, the PENGASSAN President commended the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr Ibe Kachikwu and the permanent secretaries in the two ministries, for attending to the issues and proffering solutions to many of them.
He stated that issues, such as irregular Joint Venture (JV) funding and non-payment of JV cash calls, 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), state of refineries, non-implementation of Collective Agreement for PTI, DPR, PPPRA, NNRA and NCDMB 2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and spate of redundancy and retrenchment in the industry, are seriously generating heat within the industry.