Nigeria Oil Workers Threaten Strike On April 16
Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) yesterday in Abuja threatened to embark on industrial action starting April 16 if certain demands are not met.
The unions, which presented their grievances at a stakeholders' meeting with Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu, described as unjustifiable the mass disengagement of Workers in the downstream petroleum sector.
Top among their grievances, according them, is the "poor monitoring and enforcement by the BPE of privatization agreement with core investors in the petroleum marketing sector."
Presidents Babatunde Ogun and Igwe Achese of PENGASSAN and NUPENG, respectively, told the minister that despite the boom in the downstream petroleum sector, the response from employees has been a "mix of sharp practices as a way to justify large scale job cuts and preference for casual workers."
They decried "government's insensitivity in the handling of the fuel subsidy reinvestment programme and demanded that government must engage labour in creating an enabling business environment in the growth of the sector."
They berated the "unfair labour practices and anti-union activities in the Free Trade Zone Onne" while calling for "engagement on Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before passage as promised by petroleum minister."
The unions noted that it is "imperative to share the content of the PIB draft for accelerated passage particularly as regards labour related issues to prevent possible crisis that may precipitate from non-engagement before passage."
They regretted "pension funds abuse and poor administration, non-inclusion of PENGASSAN on boards and committees in the Oil and gas sector, alignment of PTDF structure with other Oil and gas government agencies like PPPRA, NCDMB, DPR, PEF, PTI and NNPC," among other grievances.
Speaking earlier, Wogu said: "One thing that is eminent and one thing that is clear, is that this government has been sincere, and honest in its approach to industrial issues, we may not have met all your expectations, but we meet you more than midway, and there is no perfection in life, nobody can achieve hundred percent."
He added that, "I believe the support you have given us in the past will remain the support today and support tomorrow, and government on its own part will reciprocate. There is no need causing havoc in a fragile economy like our own. We all know the relevance of Oil and gas in the economy".
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