By Michael Oche, Abuja
Barley 48 hours after the federal government promised to end the fuel scarcity being experienced in parts of the country, the situation is likely to get worse as the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has said it will on go on strike on Monday and shut down all oil and gas installations.
LEADERSHIP Friday reports that this move, if allowed to happen, will no doubt disrupt fuel supply and distribution across the country.
The oil workers’ union said if the government did not respond to its earlier seven-day ultimatum which would elapse on Monday, it would cripple the oil sector.
The union, in a statement signed by its general secretary, Lumumba Okugbawa, said it was carrying out its action as a result of the unfair labour practices and seemingly untameable posture of some indigenous oil and gas companies, marginal field operators, and relevant agencies of government.
He recalled that PENGASSAN had, in a communiqué issued at the end of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of October 13, 2017, held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, condemned some indigenous oil and gas companies and marginal field operators concerning their anti-labour posture and practices including the termination of the employment of any workers who has indicated willingness to belong to the union.
The statement read in part: “The case of Neconde Energy Ltd (of Nestoil Group of companies) is particularly worrisome as the issue of dignity in labour and infringement on workers’ rights to freedom of association is foreign to them, leading to mass sack of workers that joined the union and dehumanisation of same in total disregard to rules of engagement and the laws of the land. The actions of companies such as Neconde in the mass sack of Nigerian workers contribute in no small measures to the unending militancy in the Niger Delta.
“This company has not only conducted itself as being above the provisions of extant laws and regulations guiding the operations of oil and gas companies in Nigeria, but has also boasted that no government agency can call it to order.
“It was therefore no surprise that Neconde has defied multiple interventions from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the top management of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) for the company to toe the path of law and order and comply with Nigerian labour laws.
“Having explored all options without getting the necessary understanding, and an apparent failure of relevant authorities of Government to call to order these recalcitrant organisations especially Neconde, PENGASSAN gives the federal government and its relevant agencies seven days’ notice to embark on nationwide strike effective December 18, 2017 if she fails to direct the management of Neconde and other companies to recall our sacked members as the only option to address this injustice and lawlessness.”
It advised Nigerians to make adjustments for their supply of petroleum products while the strike lasts.