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PENGASSAN flays local oil firms over abuse of labour laws

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The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), has decried abuse of labour laws by some indigenous oil companies.

It indicted Forte Oil, Seplat, AITEO and NIPCO as firms among violators of the nation’s labour laws.

Condemning the act, PENGASSAN, which described the firms’ anti-labour stance against their employees as unacceptable, said the union would resist their nefarious acts on workers, who are also citizens of the country.

According to PENGASSAN, these oil and gas companies are notorious for casualisation, contract staffing, outsourcing and off-shoring of jobs, as well as other unfair labour practices, and under-hand tactics in their Labour relations.

A statement signed by its President, Francis Johnson and General Secretary, Lumumba Okugbawa, the association sought stiffer sanctions against the oil firms.

However, when contacted, spokesman of NIPCO, Lawal Abiodun said he could not comment on the issue, as he was driving, but did not get back to The Guardian as at the time of filing this report.

Also, spokesman of AITEO, Matthew Ndiana, who said he was in a meeting, could not reply to an e-mail sent to him, just as Seplat’s spokesperson, Chioma Nwachukwu, did not reply to a text message to her phone.

While advising government to initiate workable and sustainable intervention by incorporating more investors into local refining, PENGASSAN rejected the current operating model of the nation’s refineries, describing it as unsustainable.

It, therefore, advocated adoption of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) business model after the refineries must have been rehabilitated for maximum productivity.

The association urged government to increase local refining capacity and remove all encumbrances to full rehabilitation of the nation’s refineries.

The union also frowned on conflicting pronouncements over inadequate funding and crude supplies, as well as staff attrition challenges, currently hindering smooth operations of the refineries.

As a way out, it advocated increase in crude supplies, funding and employing more qualified manpower.

PENGASSAN, however, commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), for ensuring adequate and consistent supply of petrol throughout the Christmas and New Year festive period.

On modular and private refineries, the association urged government to revoke the licenses issued to non-practicing companies and individuals, adding that government should reissue them to operators with technical and financial capacity, as well as establish modular refineries as earlier promised.


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