PENGASSAN lauds NASS on passage of PIGB, vows to resist job losses
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has vowed to resist any job loss that might arise in the course of the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB).
Speaking on the sideline of the just-concluded International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland, the President of PENGASSAN, Olabode Johnson, who lauded the National Assembly for passing the bill into law, faulted the law making body for not allowing stakeholder the privilege of viewing the bill before eventual passage.
His words: “For both PENGASSAN and NUPENG, we applaud this present National Assembly for showing sincerity of purpose by passing the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), which is one of the four bills of the old Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). Therefore for us, this is a giant step in the right direction.
“But I want to point out that while inviting the relevant stakeholders to public hearings by the National Assembly to have their feelings concerning certain bills, the Assembly should go a step further by ensuring that once stakeholders have submitted their views during public hearing, it is also good to invite the stakeholders again when the final draft of the law is made to let them see the final product before eventually passing the bill. It is unfortunate that after the public hearing on the PIGB, no one bothered to invite us again to see what was passed. We expected to be invited again and be explained to what reasons or factors influenced certain clauses in the bill and how to make them work after the bill becomes law.”
The PENGASSAN boss submitted that the unions in the oil and gas sector would compile grey areas whenever the bill becomes law and re-present their views to the National Assembly with a view to amending the law after a few years of operation.He also declared that the oil and gas industry unions will not accept loss of jobs of its members under any guise.
Johnson blamed the unending industrial disharmony in the country on the unwillingness of government officials to respect agreements reached with unions.He also debunked insinuations that labour unions declare strike actions recklessly saying, “labour unions follow the rules that guide declaration of industrial disputes such as declaring 21 days, seven days and warning strikes before embarking on actual action. In some cases, PENGASSAN often take some actions behind the scene that ensure that strikes are averted.”
Speaking the usage of automation in the industry, the PENGASSAN chief stated that Nigeria has not developed to the level where automation would be allowed to take over jobs.He said: “Has Nigeria develop to the level where robots and machines take over the jobs that human beings are doing now? We do not think so. The unions are thinking of having investments from where we can generate income so we do not have to depend on check-off dues from members for survival.
For us, we encourage our members to be reasonable by forfeiting some allowances and forgo some levels of comfort whenever our employers are passing through tough times. We recommend that our employers should be creative whenever they are passing through tough times. Disengagement of workers is not the last resort in most scenarios because that in itself will create distortions in the social sector of the country.”
Johnson, who lauded the implementation of the Nigeria Local Content policy so far, blamed local contractors for not extending the opportunities provided by the implementation of the law to the advantage of Nigerian workers.
He explained: “Instead of local operators empowering their workforce, they live in affluence and opulence to the detriment of their workers. We have slated an engagement with the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB) where we will x-ray all these issues in a holistic manner.”