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PENGASSAN may declare strike over job losses in oil sector

By Collins Olayinka, Abuja
15 November 2016   |   3:35 am
There are indications that the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) may begin industrial action soon if the job losses in the oil and gas sector are not halted.

Oil-rig

There are indications that the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) may begin industrial action soon if the job losses in the oil and gas sector are not halted.

The President of the union, Olabode Johnson, who said this in Abuja while speaking to The Guardian, berated oil companies for reneging on the agreement reached over pathways to halting job losses and paying sacked workers their entitlements in full.

“What is very sad in this country is that high-level meetings are held at the ministerial level and decisions arrived at are not taken seriously by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) and other oil companies on issues that have to do with the welfare of workers. We now have a situation where the oil companies are now reneging on the agreement. This is a slap on the face of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“We have said times without number that these IOCs cannot do what they are doing in Nigeria in their countries of origin. If they find it difficult to obey our laws here, then they should pack their equipment and leave our country. Nigeria will survive after their exit. There is no need for anybody or any company to hold a whole country to ransom,” he explained.

Johnson, who sounded optimistic about the speedy resolution of the crisis, hinted that meetings have been scheduled for the next few weeks to resolve the crisis.

He added that the unions in the oil and gas sector would, within the next few days, summon relevant organs to examine the progress achieved so far or lack of it and take appropriate steps in the protection of the interests of their members.

Speaking on the reemergence of bombing of oil installations in the Niger Delta, Johnson blamed the lackadaisical attitude of the Federal Government for the development.

His words: “The resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta would have been nipped in the bud before it escalated to the present state if the declaration of the state of emergency in the oil and gas sector was declared as canvassed when the present administration came into office last year June.

“We called for the declaration of state of emergency in the oil and gas sector immediately this administration came to power but that call was ignored. We believe that the issues such as pipeline vandalism, oil theft, and job loss would have been solved before they get to this worrying level.”

The PENGASSAN boss also stressed the opposition of the union to fuel price increment at this point, saying, “for us at the PENGASSAN, any increase in the pump price now will be very unfair to Nigerians. We cannot anchor a general increase on the increment of the NNPC owned filling stations, which moved their price to the maximum band of N145 per litre.

“While government is trying to resolve the dollar parity, we are opposed to any price increase now especially in the face of the prevailing economic hardship. We also think that all the stakeholders would be summoned to examine the merit or otherwise of any planned increase, which has not happened.”

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