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PENGASSAN issues 21-day ultimatum over anti-labour practices


Members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) during a protest.  PHOTO: Toyin Olasinde

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has threatened to embark on a nationwide strike if anti-labour practices by some employers in the oil and gas industry were not addressed within 21 days.

It issued the ultimatum after its Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting in Abuja. Its National Public Relations Officer, Fortune Obi, said the 21-day ultimatum was necessitated by persistent anti-labour practices by the management of some oil firms.

Meanwhile, the multinational oil companies have condemned the incessant disruption of production through industrial actions by the country’s industrial unions.

Some senior members of the union told The Guardian that Nigeria was losing a lot of foreign exchange to consistent production disruptions by organised labour in the oil and gas sector.

They said the recent interruptions, which resulted to the loss of over 600,000 barrels of crude oil by operators may cost the country $28.8 million or N8.8 billion.

PENGASSAN had shut the operations of international oil companies (IOCs), including ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and subsidiary of Eni, Agip in the Niger Delta for several weeks to protest the sack of 150 employees, 82 of who are members of the union.

Obi said the association was asking all stakeholders to address the issues affecting its members within 21 days to avoid the consequences of a prolonged industrial action.

“PENGASSAN in the last three years has not only been excessively stretched but also unnecessarily over-burdened and is fast running out of patience for the loss of will by various managements to resolve the industrial issues.

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

The union specifically identified 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 ObiJackson Group, SDF, Ciscon, Tecon, Obax, Pan Ocean, NNPC Retail Limited, Exxon-Mobil and Petrobras to the lingering issues.

Obi added that the association has, therefore, directed the zonal executive councils Port Harcourt, Lagos, Kaduna and Warri, to commence systematic mobilisation of its members for the planned industrial action.

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