Oil Workers Likely to Call Off Strike After Meeting With Government

  • Continue dialogue with labour minister, oil companies tomorrow

Chineme Okafor in Abuja

Senior oil workers union under the umbrella of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) are likely call off their almost five days old nationwide strike following a successful meeting with the federal government on Monday in Abuja, THISDAY has learnt.

The paper gathered that the meeting which was held at the office of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, successfully addressed all except one of the issues raised by the union as reasons for calling off the strike.

It also understands that barring any last change of direction in the dialogue which has largely gone on smoothly, they may call of their strike after the outstanding issue is addressed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, at a meeting in his office tomorrow.

But even at that, the outcome of the Monday meeting did not push the unions to immediately call off their nationwide strike; instead, as is the practice, they will table it before their National Executive Council (NEC) tomorrow after the meeting with Ngige and the oil companies.

The meeting, it was learnt, will address the alleged unfair labour practices perpetrated by oil companies against their worker and which the union is protesting.

President of PENGASSAN, Francis Olabode Johnson, told journalists after the meeting that a final decision on the status of the strike will be reached after the NEC meeting. He said until such happens, the strike was still in force.

Notwithstanding Johnson’s position, Ngige in his response to questions from reporters after the meeting said the government expected the unions to take a reasonable position going forward, having addressed their complaints.
He said: “We had a wonderful meeting, a good meeting and we provided PENGASSAN the information on the various issues that needed clarification.”