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Oil workers 21 day ultimatum for nationwide strikes enter day 3 today

President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Comrade Igwe Achese, has said there are strong chances of fuel scarcity in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja following the decision taken to stop fuel supply to Abuja and its environs.

He explained that PENGASSAN’ 21 days ultimatum giving to stakeholders in the oil and gas industry, was necessary due to persistent anti-labour practices by the management of some companies in the sector. The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) is part of the ultimatum.

Also part of the reasons for the strike notice is to advance the groups’ rejection of the ongoing amendment of the Nigerian Liquefied natural gas Act at the National Assembly. To them, the review will end up squeezing jobs in the industry and create additional hiccups in the administration gas policy in Nigeria.

According to him, NUPENG has resolved to shut down supply of petroleum products to Abuja in the next 24 days unless the federal government prevail on the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to pay the entitlements of workers of Sea wolf who were disengaged since 2013 after AMCON took over the company.

Achese noted that the union had issued a directive to petroleum tanker drivers, and all its members in the oil sector to wear red in preparation for the planned industrial action in Abuja.

In his lead argument in favour of both labour unions, he said “For four years, we have been discussing the issue of redundancy or closure of the company called Sea wolf which AMCON as a federal agency took over in 2013.

“It is very unfortunate to state here that workers of the company have not been paid. AMCON has refused to pay these workers their terminal benefits since 2013.

“Therefore, the union in a very strong revolution is requesting the government to prevail on AMCON to pay the workers. We have written series of letters to the security agencies, the ministry of Labour and employment, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Department of State Services and others. AMCON instead of paying took the matter to court and we are faced with series of adjournment since 2013.

“We therefore have no choice than to write an open letter to the Acting President to take all necessary measures to address the issue of Sea wolf. However, we have issued notice to the government in the letter that we wrote that failure to address this problem, the NEC in session has taken a decision that within two weeks of not addressing this issue, NUPENG will withdraw our services into Abuja and around its environment.

“At this point we are also directing all our PTD, workers across the entire country to begin to wear red, and tanker drivers to carry this on their trucks in readiness for this struggle; it is the responsibility of government to make sure that workers in the companies that they took over are paid their terminal benefits.”

The statement issued on the matter said “PENGASSAN in the last three years has not only been excessively stretched but equally unnecessarily over-burdened and is fast running out of patience over the loss of will by various managements to attend to industrial/welfare issues”.

“Particularly frustrating is the sustained, deliberate and indiscriminate redundancies, sack, casualization, ill-treatment, adverse work condition, incessant disagreement to collective bargain resolutions and other anti-labour practices against our members by these managements without recourse to extant labour laws.”

The PENGASSAN identified in particular the provocative stance of managements of the Fugro, Sterling Global, Indorama Petrochemical Company, Baker Hughes/General Electric, Universal Energy, Frontier Energy, Vam Onne, Neconde Energy and Obi Jackson Group, SDF, Ciscon, Tecon, Obax, Pan Ocean, NNPC Retail Limited, Exxon-Mobil and Petrobras.