June 20, 2016 - 6:20 AM EDT
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PENGASSAN Threatens Strike Over Anti-Labour Policies

Oil workers under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have threatened to close down operations and activities in the nation's oil and gas industry if some employers in the industry did not stop their anti-labour practices.

The senior staff trade union issued a seven-day ultimatum within which employers in the industry should put an end to all anti-labour practices in their companies or the nation will face an industrial action that will lead to a total shutdown of the oil and gas industry.

Industrial issues raised by PENGASSAN include the review of the lingering irregular Joint Venture funding and Cash Call payment arrears, lack of a clear-cut direction on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), and forceful co-option of government agencies in the industry into the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

In a statement signed by its national public relations officer, Comrade Emmanuel Ojugbana, the union said that despite the tripartite agreement reached between the the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, employers, and the two trade unions in the industry (PENGASSAN and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers), some employers still went ahead to severe the employment of some workers, including national officers of PENGASSAN.

Comrade Ojugbana said, "Despite the agreement that employers should put on hold redundancy in the industry, some managements such as Fugro, Universal Energy, Frontier Services and Petrostuff went ahead to sack many of our members, including key union officers and national officer.

"I want to reiterate our demands that the federal government and the concerned organisations, including H15, IEME Chevron, Universal Energy, Chevron Contracts Tecon and Avion Oil and Fugro, should resolve the critical industrial relation issues in their companies, particularly the recent retrenchment in Fugro and Petrostuff should be reversed.

"Let us state unequivocally that industrial peace in the oil and gas sector will not be guaranteed if these issues, especially the retrenchment in Fugro, are not resolved within seven days, effective Monday, June 20, 2016.

"As a major stakeholder in the oil and gas industry, we are again calling on the NAPIMS to put in place a clear policy statement against frequent redundancy plans by operators under the guise of fluctuating crude oil prices", he said.

The PENGASSAN spokesman said that apart from the arrears, the current cash calls are delayed and that even when paid, they much below the approved cash calls, without consideration of JV commitment, including staff salaries.

"The effect of non-payment has led to thousands of job losses across the sectors and non-creation of new jobs against the backdrop of the electoral promises of employment generation by the current government", he said.

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Source: Equities.com News (June 20, 2016 - 6:20 AM EDT)

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