PENGASSAN Pickets BelemaOil over Unpaid 13 Months Workers’ Salary

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) yesterday, stopped activities at the BelemaOil Producing Limited to protest the alleged unpaid salary of workers.

The union also alleged maltreatment and poor condition of service for workers in the past eight years.

The picketing action started yesterday, in front of the headquarters of BelemaOil Company in Port Harcourt, with the aim to draw attention of the company’s management to alleged dehumanisation and withholding of the said workers salary.

Speaking with journalists during the demonstration, the National Auditor 2 of PENGASSAN, Ese Okusi, said all efforts to have the company engaged in discussion with the union to address the concerns of the workers was not yet achieved. 

Okusi, alleged that the company engaged the workers without conditions of services attached and with no concern for their welfare.

He advised the management of Belemaoil to as a matter of urgency address concerns of the workers to avoid a mother of all protest by PENGASSAN across the nation.

“We are here in solidarity, to see to the plight of our members in BelamaOil Producing Limited. The management of the company has been reneging in reaching agreement necessary agreement they are supposed to reach.

 “Since the unionisation of this branch, and bringing Belemaoil to the table, CBA negotiation has been on and on, when they come, they renege on agreement that have been reached, even to the extent of paying them salary now has become an issue, they are reneging to pay our members the little token they are supposed to pay them in this branch.

“That is why the national body of PENGASSAN took it up through Port Harcourt zone of our union that this place should be picketed today.

“The position of PENGASSAN is that BelemaOil must come to the table and we are not going to leave this place until we get everything that our members are supposed to get.”

He warned that, “If nothing is done urgently, members of PENGASSAN from other branches will come down here to enforce it and even take it to the locations.

“So, the earlier the management comes out to put pen on paper and release funds for those agreements we reached, the better for the company.”

On his part, Chairman, PENGASSAN BelamaOil branch, Mr. Dan Opusingi, said the workers since inception of work in 2016, have been working like slaves without working conditions and denial of their rights.

He said, “Today we are here because we have been maltreated since we started working from 2016, till now, we don’t have CBA, a working document that has to do with conditions of service.

“We have engaged our management severally but no result, we are just working like slaves. There is somebody in this system who has been enslaving everybody, he is an Israeli, Amit Levi by name, and we are demanding that he must go, else we will not allow operation of the company.

“Right now, we have already shutdown, if they refuse to allow him go, that means they are not ready to go back to operation.

“We know that few of our locations have been down, and we have been working with the Zonal executive council to make sure that we go back to operation but till now, we haven’t heard from the management.”

Opusingi added, “We want to tell the world that, if BelemaOil is ready, let them go back to operation, Idama and Omokiri should go back to production. But our CBA should be signed. They should pay us our 13 months salaries, they should pay us our COVID-19 allowances, among others.

“For eight years now that we have been working, our four years pension and three years for some persons, have not been remitted, casualisation have been taking place and nothing is happening. Our members and workers have been in the field for over 50 days without treatment, no light, no water and if you talk or complain about our welfare, you are sacked. It’s like they are in the prison.”

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