PENGASSAN suspends nationwide strike

Tankers at a NNPC depot
Tankers at a NNPC depot

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has suspended its one-week nationwide strike with immediate effect, the News Agency of Nigeria is reporting.

PENGASSAN had embarked on an indefinite strike on July 7.

The oil workers union suspended the strike at the end of its National Executive Council Meeting, which was called to review offers made by government during days of negotiations.

The union had earlier met with the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige.

The president of the association, Johnson Olabode, announced the suspension at the end of the union’s National Executive Council meeting.

Mr. Olabode said, “NEC met to appraise the industrial action after an extensive debate with the representatives of the Federal Government the following provisions were reached.

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“NEC in session in conciliation of the issues during the meeting with the Federal Government has accepted to show understanding.

“Two, NEC in session, in the spirit of patriotism has been satisfied with the outcome of the meeting with the Federal Government thereby suspending the current nationwide industrial action effective immediately.

“The Association leadership hereby directs our members that from today July 13, everybody should return to their respective offices.”

Mr. Olabode commended his colleagues for their struggle to move the association forward.

The meeting with government was deferred to July 19 and 21 for the negotiations to be concluded.

The unions had on July 7 declared a strike over “unresolved issues” affecting the smooth operation of the oil and gas industry.

The acting general secretary of PENGASSAN, Lumumba Okugbawa, had told PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday that some of the association’s demands bordered on issues that could strengthen the oil and gas industry and the country’s economy.

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They include backlog of cash call arrears dating back to 2014, which he said had greatly hampered the ability of the joint venture partners with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to discharge their obligations both to the industry and their workers.

Other issues include the poor state of the country’s refineries and the massive waste of resources on turn around maintenance (TAM); continued importation of petroleum products; on-going industry reforms and NNPC restructuring as well as the politicisation of the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

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