PENGASSAN Suspends Nationwide Strike

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Paul Obi in Abuja

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) yesterday suspended its nationwide strike following a dialogue with the federal government over the crisis in the oil sector.

The suspension came amid several deadlocks during the negotiations between the oil workers and the federal government.

In a communique signed by Francis Johnson, PENGASSAN President; Igwe Achese, President NUPENG; Lumumba Okugbawa, Ag General Secretary, Adamu Song, Deputy General Secretary, Dr. Clement Illoh, Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and B.M. Isah, General Manager Human Resources, NNPC, the two parties agreed to work out modalities to address the crisis bedevilling the sector.

They observed that “based on the understanding at the meeting, and in view of the on-going social dialogue, the meeting urged PENGASSAN that in order to make also for an unfettered execution of most of the resolutions reached at these two meetings.

“The national strike of her members which started on July 7, 2016, be suspended immediately in accordance with provision of the Trade Dispute Act Cap T8 LFN 2004.

“The meeting was satisfied on the new model of the new joint venture arrangement by the Petroleum Resources Ministry and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as well as the payment structure put in place to pay off the arrears of the old Joint Venture Cash Calls inherited by the new government as this will help the International Oil Companies (IOCs) to stem the tide of redundancies being declared in the industry and help address job losses of oil workers that would otherwise be put into the unemployment market.

“The meeting noted with satisfaction the report of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources that almost all the IOCs have signed into these proposals.
“On other unresolved industrial relations issues the meeting agreed that where redundancy has been declared by some IOCs without going through Section 20 of the Labour Act, Cap L1 LFN 2004 such companies should revert to status quo Ante Bellum.

“Most of the IOCs and indigenous oil companies that have laid off workers without passing through the due process of the law all agreed to comply and in such cases where the workers had gone on strikes or lock outs by employers, the meeting directed them to unlock such premises while the actions of employers have also been put on hold to make for a free and unfettered atmosphere during the negotiations.

“Negotiations not concluded today with Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), were all deferred to 19 and 21 July, 2016.

“The meeting thanked the leadership of PENGASSAN and NUPENG and the headship of Federal Ministries of Labour and Employment, the Petroleum Resources and NNPC for their candour in dealing with the matters. Also, the IOCs and Indigenous Oil Companies came to present their own case at these meetings.

“The meeting agreed that there will be no victimisation of workers by reason of participation in the strike

The explanation and work plan by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources with a view to reactivating the refineries were satisfactorily adopted. The non implementation of 2015 Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) in Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Nigeria Content Development Management Board (NCDMB), Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), and Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NNRA). The meeting resolved that only one agency was not yet covered and all efforts would be done by the NSIWC, Budget and National Planning Ministry to correct this effective March 1, 2015. Furthermore, the Technical Committee constituted May 12, 2014 was reactivated to conclude the modalities for the implementation of IPPIS in the relevant Agencies in the industry before end of October, 2016.”

The communique stressed that “in response to the question raised on the restructuring in PPPRA, PEF, DPR, PTI, NNRA, PTDF, and NCDMB, by PENGASSAN, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources affirmed that the restructuring exercise had been done in these agencies and no jobs were lost or will be lost.”