Oil workers suspend strike

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…Filling stations reopen

By Samuel Ibiyemi

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN)  issued a seven (7) days ultimatum which expired on the the Sunday  December 17,, 2017 with respect to  anti union posture of indigenous companies and marginal field operators including Neconde, which transferred employees at will and inconsiderably, sacked and intimidated union members. Despite all entreaties by the Association, the management of Neconde was recalcitrant and adamant.

As a matter of fact, the union had directed its members across zones to embark on a nationwide strike.

As a result of the strike, several depots having shortfall in supply were affected as lifting of products was suspended. Hence, several filling stations with premium motor spirit  ( PMS) in Lagos refused to sell thereby creating long queues at most of the filling stations of  major marketers. This was despite the threat to shut errant filling stations by the Department of Petroleum Resources ( DPR), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC) and nationwide monitoring of filling stations by the Senate Committee on Petroleum ( Downstream).

However, filling stations in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State remained open  yesterday with no queue while attendants  of filling station along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway took advantage of the strike in Lagos to attract motorists with a standby staff standing on the expressway  to alert drivers of the shutdown of filling stations in Lagos.

General Secretary Comrade Lumumba Ighotemu Okugbawa  said the strike was suspended following  agreement  reached at the meeting initiated by the Minister of Labour  Dr Chris Ngige and the Minister of State for Petroleum Dr. Ibe Kachikwu. He noted that the resolutions reached will be reviewed after three months to determine the adherence of Neconde management to the details of the resolution.

Going by the aforementioned, the Honorable Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, engaged both the leadership of PENGASSAN and the Neconde management. The Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe kachikwu, representatives of the NNPC, and representatives of other government agencies were also in attendance.

Neconde management  according to him agreed to unconditionally recall the sacked staff and take steps to allow their employees to be members of the union.

He noted that the meeting also resolved to address the anti-union posture of other indigenous companies and their abuse of court processes to stall the resolution of issues. This includes Specialty Drilling Fluid (SDF), CETCO, Century Energy, Oil Data Services, Frontier Oil, Universal Energy, Mobil Producing Nigeria and Fugro by the third week of January 2018, to avert a full blown industrial crisis and ensure that they abide by the Nigeria Constitution, extant labour laws and ILO conventions.

“In view of the above and in the spirit of the yuletide, on behalf of the National Executive Council (NEC) of PENGASSAN, the Central Working Committee (CWC) hereby suspends the nationwide strike with immediate effect and all members are to resume normal duties immediately.

“We commend Nigerians for their understanding and continue to promise to act in morally justified way that will enhance dignity of labour and reduce unemployment in the country.

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