Nigeria’s oil workers’ unions have suspended their nationwide strike earlier embarked on in protest of several unresolved issues with the government.
The decision to call-off the strike was arrived at on Friday in a close-door meeting in Abuja between representatives of the union and the Federal Government delegation. The meeting lasted almost 12 hours.
A joint communique was issued at the end of the meeting by the leaders of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the government’s delegation led by the Supervising Labour Minister, Tanimu Turaki.
Nigerian Oil workers had commenced an indefinite strike to protest alleged unfair labour practice and non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill.
According to officials of the NUPENG and the PENGASSAN, the government have refused to implement agreements reached with the unions on these issues.
At the meeting, the Supervising Minister promised the unions of government’s commitment to resolving all issues they raised, but the striking workers expressed doubt on the willingness of the international oil companies to implement resolutions of their meetings.
Long queues returned to petrol stations in Abuja, the nation’s capital city and other cities including Kaduna, as motorists engaged in panic buying of petrol, while unionists continue to chant solidarity songs, promising to enforce their industrial action unless government takes steps to address the issues.
The House of Representatives says the petroleum industry bill will be passed before the end of the 7th Assembly.
The spokesman of the House, Zakari Mohammed, told reporters on Thursday that the PIB report would be considered when the House resumes from its recess on January 13.
On June 2, the House of Representatives said it would do its best to ensure that the Petroleum Industry Bill “is passed soon”.
However, since that promise was made at the 3rd Downstream Stakeholders’ Conference of the House Committee on Petroleum Downstream in Abuja on Monday, the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Emeka Ihedioha, till date, the Bill has still not been passed.