Labour asks PENGASSAN to stay action on oil facilities closure

PENGASSAN President, Babatunde Ogun

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Abdulwaheed Omar, has said despite last night’s unfruitful meeting with the federal government, oil and gas production facilities would not be shut in line with an earlier threat by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN).

The oil workers had in a communique at the end of its  emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja on Saturday reaffirmed its commitment to closing all oil platforms by midnight today, in solidarity with its affiliate labour centre, which is in league with the NLC to demand a reversal of the price of petrol to N65 per litre.          

The communique stated: “PENGASSAN National Executive Council (NEC) met in Abuja on Saturday, January 14, 2012 to review its decisions of January 5, 2012, on the NLC/TUC directed strike on fuel subsidy withdrawal.

“After exhaustive deliberation, the meeting resolved to align itself with the resolution of the NLC/TUC NEC meeting of Saturday, January 14, 2012 that Government must revert the price of PMS to N65 per litre to enable further consultation and negotiation with the Government on the issue.

“In the interest of the ongoing consultations, NEC-in-Session has alerted all PENGASSAN branches and members at all the production platforms to execute immediately the systematic shut-down of oil production should the negotiation with the government break down.”

However, the NLC President told reporters at the end of the parley with the Federal Government that labour decided to ask the oil workers to stay action on the closure of oil facilities despite the deadlock “to give peace a chance” in view of the understanding that dialogue was still ongoing on the issue.

The NECs of NLC and TUC are expected to meet again today to review the outcome of last night’s meeting to enable them take a decision on the next line of action, although Mr. Omar said government’s refusal to back down meant the nationwide strike, suspended on Friday for 48 hours, would resume on Monday.     

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