Government, NLC resume talks as PENGASSAN suspends planned strike
There are indications that the Federal Government and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) would resume negotiation today in Abuja over hike in the price of petrol and electricity tariff.
The Guardian learnt that the venue of the meeting remains the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, at about 2:00 p.m.
The President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, while confirming The Guardian findings, said that the Congress had indeed received a formal letter of invitation from government and also hinted that the leadership of the Congress would attend the meeting slated for the office of the SGF.
Meanwhile, the ultimatum given by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) to embark on a nationwide strike effective mid-night, Tuesday, May 24, 2016, has been suspended.
According to a statement signed by the Deputy Director (Press) of the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Samuel Olowookere, the action is sequel to the intervention of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige and the his Minister of State for Petroleum Resources counterpart, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.
In a conciliatory/pre-strike meeting yesterday in Abuja, the Kachikwu exhaustively briefed PENGASSAN and other stakeholders on the vexed issue of Joint Venture Cash Call (JVCC), the arrears of which have not been paid to the Joint Venture partners, hence the threat by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) to lay off their Nigerian workers while refusing to pay some of their allowances due to an alleged shortage of cash.
Kachikwu said that the ministry was restructuring the operational modalities of the JVCC, especially in view of the low oil prices but assured the union, the JVCC partners and other stakeholders of positive and agreeable results when the meeting reconvenes in late June.
Ngige, who hosted the meeting, promised that the oil industry stakeholders’ committee dealing with the issues of labour malpractices such as contract work, casualisation and unilateral declaration of redundancy by the oil contractors and the IOC on one hand, as well as the unnecessary and incessant issuing of threats of strike by the unions would resume next month.
In his remarks, National President of PENGASSAN, Francis Johnson, thanked the two ministers for their prompt responses to the union’s agitations and assured that the union was quite satisfied with the position of government on issues in conflict and has therefore decided to shelve the planned strike with immediate effect.