Negotiate with PENGASSAN, Labour advises FG

The General Secretary of  Textiles Workers Union and member of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Issa Aremu, has advised the Federal Government to enter into a serious negotiation with the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), with the view to bringing to an end the persistent crises facing the oil and gas industry.

This was contained in a statement he issued in Kaduna, on Sunday.

The statement noted that the crisis in the sector had resulted in low output, serial sabotage, attacks by militants, job losses.

It observed that “strikes will not abate unless the Buhari-led administration initiated strong industrial policies as contained in the 2014 Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan to advance social, economic and environmental sustainability in the sector.

The statement then urged the Federal Government, in the spirit of social dialogue, to intensify negotiation with PENGASSAN with a view of resolving the issues in dispute which led to the ongoing industrial action by the union.

Some of the issues in dispute included the lingering irregular joint venture funding and cash call payments, 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 retrenchment in the industry.

“It’s time Nigeria puts an end to endless crises in the petroleum sector just as other OPEC countries have done through sustainable industrial policy and effective implementation of labour standards in the sector that include promotion of collective bargaining, income adequacy for the workers, job security, promotion of dialogue between industry and trade unions and enforcement of labour laws that restrict precarious work.”

Also, the statement added that the “Buhari-led administration’s commitment to diversification must not lead to abandonment of commitment in the extractive oil sector such as irregular joint venture funding and cash call payments.

“It is unacceptable that Nigeria exports limited crude oil and gas, and at the same time importing wholesale value-added petroleum-based products such as diesel, jet fuel, fuel oil, fertilisers, etc with attendant loss of scarce foreign exchange, loss of few jobs at home and even scandalous export of jobs,” it concluded.