SENIOR oil workers union will go ahead with a planned strike today over some unresolved industry issues with the federal government. Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has directed its members to begin a gradual shut down of the industry in protest of job losses, delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, and inability of the NNPC to meet piling debts to international oil companies. PENGASSAN’s national public relations officer, Comrade Emmanuel Ojugbana told our reporter by phone that the action, which would cripple all activities and operations in the oil and gas sector, would affect all the sub-sectors. “It will affect every activity in the oil and gas industry” Ojugbana said. “It is a gradual shutdown unless government intervenes. Our major grievance is the issue of JV funding and cash call payment. Government is not in any way keeping its obligations on this funding issue such that the IOCs have stopped several of their projects. No investments; jobs are not created; as a result and this is also crippling down our service companies; many of them are reducing their staff.” In the bid to stop the strike, Federal government scheduled a meeting with PENGASSAN yesterday. However the meeting between the Ministers of Labour and Petroleum with the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) on how to shelve the association’s planned strike would now hold today. A statement signed and issued by Mr Samuel Olowookere, the Deputy Director
(Press) in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and made available to the press yesterday in Abuja stated that the shift in date was in consideration for the season and the national holidays. “The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, will now hold the crucial meeting with PENGASSAN leadership on Friday put a lasting solution to the lingering problems affecting the oil and gas sector. “The meeting will hold at the Minister’s Board Room, 11th floor, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, NNPC Towers, Abuja starting at 10 a.m,’’ it said. The statement also stated that both ministers appealed to the leadership of PENGASSAN to suspend its proposed strike in view of the ongoing negotiations and in the spirit of social dialogue.


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