The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria has issued a 21-day ultimatum to employers in the oil and gas industry to address lingering anti-labour issues or face a nationwide strike.
The strike notice was served by the senior staff trade union after its Central Working Committee meeting in Abuja.
According to a statement by the PENGASSAN National Public Relations Officer, Fortune Obi, on Sunday, the 21-day ultimatum to stakeholders in the oil and gas industry has become necessary due to persistent anti-labour practices by the management of some companies in the sector.
Obi stated, “PENGASSAN in the last three years has not only been excessively stretched, but unnecessarily over-burdened and is fast running out of patience over the loss of will by various managements to attend to industrial and welfare issues.
“Particularly frustrating is the sustained, deliberate and indiscriminate redundancies, sacking, casualization, ill-treatment, adverse working conditions, incessant disagreements with collective bargain resolutions and other anti-labour practices against our members by these managements without recourse to extant labour laws.”
The union identified Fugro, Sterling Global, Indorama Petrochemical Company, Baker Hughes/General Electric, Universal Energy, Frontier Energy, Vam Onne, Neconde Energy and Obijackson Group, SDF, Ciscon, Tecon, Obax, Pan Ocean, NNPC Retail Limited, ExxonMobil and Petrobras, as some of the employers that had yet to resolve labour issues with it.
PENGASSAN said that the association had directed the zonal executive councils in Port Harcourt, Lagos, Kaduna and Warri to commence systematic mobilisation of its members for the planned action.
In addition, the association called on the leadership of the National Assembly to reconsider the amendment of NLNG Act, which it claimed would portend danger for Federal Government’s push to woo investors into the country.
While observing that PENGASSAN and Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers had not been included in the governing boards of the regulatory entities in the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, Obi explained that the association was composed of professionals who were equipped to make inputs to policies by virtue of their positions and in-depth knowledge of the industry.
The statement read in part, “PENGASSAN also observed with dismay the loose condition of service with regards to job security/transfer of employment of workers in the existing agencies. PENGASSAN will resist any attempt under whatever guise to downsize or short-change Nigerian workers.
“The association appreciates the Senate’s efforts over its inquiry into the planned sale/concession of the Port Harcourt Refinery Company by the Federal Government to a consortium under questionable circumstances.
“PENGASSAN is convinced that the refineries’ sub-optimal performance is rather political than technical. We are, however, open to genuine and transparent processes that will lead to optimisation of the plants as well as guarantee the end of importation of refined products.”