Oil workers under the aegis of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have concluded plans to commence a nationwide indefinite strike to protest the inability of the government to carry out turn-around maintenance of the refineries and reduce pump prices of petroleum products in line with the slump in global prices of crude oil.
According to a statement made available to MMS Plus Weekly by the Media officer of PENGASSAN, Mr. Tunde Oke on Sunday, the strike is to ensure that the government evolves new strategies to combat pipeline vandalisation and crude oil theft that have impacted negatively on the nation’s economy and employment in the country.
In the statement also, other reasons for the strike are delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), global crude oil prices slump, non -implementation of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act to reflect Nigerians in management positions and expatriate quota law, appalling state of access roads to refineries and oil depots’ facilities, insecurity all over the country that has led to the death of their members, appointments in government agencies in disregard to succession planning, compulsory deduction from workers’ salaries for the National Housing Fund (NHF), casualisation and contract staffing and unfair labour practice by companies and government agencies.
He said the unfair labour practices listed by the oil workers under the aegis of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) included transfer and termination of national officers of the two unions.
According to him, the statement made available by the unions, the strike will affect all operations in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry, as members will be withdrawn from all oil and gas installations.
“The unions said that all members have been fully mobilised to embark on indefinite strike on Monday, adding that the strike will not be suspended until there is a strong commitment from the government and affected management/operators to resolve the issues.”
According to NUPENG and PENGASSAN, the government has refused to honour all engagements and agreements reached with them on all their issues of concerns including the turn around maintenance of the refineries and ensuring adequate supply of crude oil to the refineries to ensure that they functional effectively and efficiently.
“The unions also demand that the government should put in place alternative strategies to stop pipeline vandalisation and crude oil theft, convene an industry stakeholders’ forum on PIB status and falling crude oil prices and address the ongoing high rate divestment in the industry and its attendant job losses.”
On casualisation and contract staffing, NUPENG and PENGASSAN demand immediate conversion of all contract staff to regular staff in accordance with the approved Contract, Casual and Outsourcing in the Oil and Gas Industry Guidelines.