The planned strike of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) got a boost yesterday as workers of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and others indicated their intention to join the strike.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige and Minister of State, Petroeleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu are scheduled to meet with representatives of PENGASSAN over the planned strike today.
In a statement endorsed by the Deputy Director (Press) in the Ministry, Mr Samuel Olowookere, the crucial meeting was being convened to find a lasting solution to the lingering problems in the oil and gas sector.
It explained that the dialogue is scheduled for 10 a.m. in Abuja.
According to the National Public Relation Officer, PENGASSAN, Comrade Emmanuel Ojugbana, members of the group met in all the zones to fine-tune the strategies and modalities for the strike.
He said: “In the meeting, the gradual method of shutdown was critically examined and adopted by the members.
“The action, which will cripple all activities and operations in the oil and gas sector, will affect all the sub sectors as our members in the DPR, PPPRA, Petroleum Equalisation Fund (Monitoring Board) PEF (MB), Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), oil majors, labour and contract services companies, and petroleum products marketing companies will join in the action.”
He appealed for the understanding of all Nigerians and operators that will be impacted by the action, saying the industrial action is critical to the survival of the oil and gas industry, which according to him, currently is the mainstay of the nation’s economy.
The Rivers State Chairman, Trade Union Congress (TUC), and former National Industrial Relations Officer of PENGASSAN, Chika Onuegbu, said all branches of the union were on high alert waiting for the directive of the national executives.
He added that the Federal Government is owing the JV partners about $7 billion accumulated debt from previous administrations, which was about $5 billion.
PENGASSAN, on Monday, directed its members to prepare for strike from today over unresolved industry issues with the Federal Government.
According to a statement from PENGASSAN, the group tried to engage the Federal Government on May 24 last year which was inconclusive. The engagement was later fixed for June 23 which did not take place and again shifted to June 30 which was unceremoniously cancelled with no new date fixed.