NUPENG/PENGASSAN Strike Is Long Overdue – Issa Aremu

Issa AremuThe Vice President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Issa Aremu, says the warning strike by NUPENG/PENGASSAN is long overdue, as the union had given series of notices to the Federal Government.

He said that at the moment in the sector, there are no standard jobs. “There is high level of casualisation  and petroleum jobs are not protected.”

Commending NUPENG/PENGASSAN, he said the union had tried in protecting the jobs of their fellow workers and had spoken to the government over their sacked colleagues.

Speaking as a guest on Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, Mr Aremu noted that there were outstanding issues which should not be left untreated; like the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

He explained that there were pains behind strikes, especially the problems that are faced because of the strikes but stated that the ongoing strike by the petroleum workers had drawn the attention of the government.

He blamed the government for not adhering to the call of the workers for over three weeks before the strike commenced.

Mr Aremu said that the only language that the government understood was a threat to withdraw service. “When employees threaten to withdraw their services, the government respond,” he said, urging the Federal Government and the National Assembly to pass the PIB which would addresses all issues including Labour and job opportunities (casual and permanent).

He, therefore, advise the Federal Government to learn to negotiate and also respect workers’ rights.

Oil Workers’ Strike Triggers Panic Buying Of Petrol In Nigeria’s Capital

Oil workersNigerian Oil workers have commenced an indefinite strike to protest what they called an unfair labour practice and non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill.

According to officials of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN), the government has refused to implement agreements reached with the unions on these issues.

Already, long queues have returned to petrol stations in Abuja,the nation’s capital city as motorists engage in panic buying of petrol.

Meanwhile, unionists continue to chant solidarity songs, promising to enforce their industrial action unless government takes steps to address the issues.

The Federal Government is expected to meet with the union on Friday to address the issues.

The House of Representatives had on June 2 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.

 

PENGASSAN Threatens Strike Over Lack Of Crude Oil, Unfair Treatment

Oil workersMembers of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Kaduna Refinery Branch, have given a 12-hour ultimatum to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and PENCOM to reverse the slashing of their contributory pension fund and also supply crude oil to the three refineries across the country to enable them continue production of refined petroleum products.

Chairman, PENGASSAN (Kaduna Refinery branch), Sanusi Abdulhamik, in a statement he issued on Monday, said that the Kaduna Refinery has been shut down for a while due to what he termed as lack of turn around maintenance and non availability of crude oil to enable the workers refine fuel, diesel and Kerosene.

He alleged that rather than supply crude oil to Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri refineries, the NNPC has resorted to importation of refined petroleum products into the country, a situation which he described as a deliberate plot by government to sell the three refineries to their cronies.

The workers threatened to embark on an indefinite strike if NNPC failed to supply the refineries with crude oil latest by Tuesday morning, and also service the plants for optimal performance.

While appealing to Nigerians not to see their action as being insensitive to their plight, Abdul-hamik explained that the decision to go on strike was inevitable since NNPC refused to turn around the refineries and supply crude oil to enable them perform their duties.

According to him, there is no justification for government to continue importing refined petroleum products when it can repair and maintain the existing refineries that can guarantee availability of the products across the country.

Social Commentator Advises Doctors To Find Alternative Way In Meeting Demands

ugoA Social Commentator, Ugo Ugoke believes that doctors can find an alternative way in making the government meet their demands than embarking on a nationwide strike, without affecting the man on the street.

He stated that the government has nothing to lose because they have the resources to fly abroad for treatment unlike the common man who can only afford government hospitals.

“If the health system grinds to a halt the government has absolutely nothing to lose, the health practitioners will somehow get by due to private clinics”

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s Saturday’s breakfast programme, Sunrise, Mr. Ugoke stressed that the ongoing strike will affect the common man unlike government officials who can afford international health care services.

He noted that the doctors can call on National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) or Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) to go on strike on their behalf to enable the doctors remain in the hospital, “if these associations threatening to go on strike on behalf of the doctors, the government would accede to their demands.

Unionist X-rays Challenges Of Labour Unions In Nigeria

Peter EseleFor 6 years, Peter Esele was the President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, the body set up to organise and unite all registered senior staff associations in Nigeria into a single entity.

Described as a fire brand unionist and a tough negotiator, Peter Esele finished his 2-term reign as the TUC President in June 2013 and has since gone back to his job in an oil firm.

Esele is our guest on this edition of ‘View From The Top’.

PENGASSAN-NUPENG Threaten To Begin Strike

The National President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN), Babatunde Oguns has announced plans by the association to commence an industrial action in the first week of January.

The association has expressed its seriousness to carry out this threat if the Federal Government fails to rescind its decision to privatise the nation’s refineries.

Addressing members of the association at the headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, in Abuja, Mr Oguns, flanked by the Deputy President of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers, said that the planned privatization is an attempt to hand over the nation’s refineries to cronies of the Federal Government.

He said that an indefinite strike will be declared in the first week of January 2014, to press home their demand on the Federal Government not to sell the nation’s refineries in the name of privatization.

“If between now and 24th of this month (December), government does not retract that every statement that has been made has been put on hold while further engagement is made, and everything we have to do is hinged on PIB (Petroleum Industry Bill) by first week of January, be rest assured that PENGASSAN and NUPENG will go on indefinite strike.”

He further said: “You cannot sell something without a model, without Nigerians knowing exactly what you are doing…the nature in which they do business in the oil and gas industry is fraught with secrecy. There must be a retraction first and it’s what they will make public, so Nigerians will know that it is on hold.”

 

Make Nigeria’s refineries work, NUPENG tells Jonathan

As Scarcity of petroleum persist in some part of the Country, The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) charged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency, put the nation’s four refineries in a fully functional state, if fuel subsidy deduction is in the interest of the people.

NUPENG President; Comrade Igwe Achese was speaking to journalists in Calabar, Cross River state after their week long union meeting alongside the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria(PENGASSAN).

The oil and gas unions said only working and effective refineries can remove the incessant sufferings Nigerians are facing.

Igwe echoed that the only solution to the problem at hand is for the refineries in the country to be functional and effective and that is the position of the union on the matter.

The NUPENG President added that, if the president can not address the issues affecting the union and the nation as whole, the oil workers will be left with no other choice than to down-tools any moment.

PENGASSAN President; Comrade Babatunde Ogun also spoke on the need to improve on the ills in the oil and gas sector saying the insensitivity of government to listen to the union led the oil industry to the present situation it is presently, as most marketers have hiked the price.

Ogun remarked that corruption in the industry calls for proper scrutiny and called on the Federal Government to stop casualization and improve the security of the workers.

Other issues discussed included the unions support for the passage of the petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), deregulation of the downstream sector as well as assessment of the Removal of the fuel subsidy.

PENGASSAN faults sack of NNPC Group Managing Director

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) on Wednesday faulted the sack of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Austen Oniwon along with his management team saying that this move will delay the growth of the oil and gas industry.

The former Group Managing Director of NNPC

In a press statement signed by PENGASSAN’s President, Babatunde Ogun, the Union said that incessant changes in the management leadership of the NNPC will affect the on-going reforms policy in the industry.

According to the statement, one of the policy thrusts in the on-going NNPC transformation that is likely to suffer setback is the ongoing Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) and repair of the four refineries intended to put them back on stream to operate at their installed capacity.

Mr Ogun said that in the past few months, “the NNPC management had been working assiduously on how to bring back the refineries and there has been results to this effect, as the Kaduna Refineries and Port Harcourt Refineries have started working progressively towards their installed capacities, while there are plans to put back the Warri Refinery.”

The union leader expressed fear that the new management may abandon the ongoing TAM and repairs of the refineries, and thereby allow the government to sell those refineries as scraps.

The statement also said that “other vital areas where the outgoing team would have been of tremendous value is in the actualization of well articulated visions of a globally competitive national oil company in which their wealth of experience is to be tapped in kick-starting the impending Petroleum Industry law to successful take off.”

While congratulating the new management team led by the new Group Managing Director, Andrew Yakubu, the PENGASSAN president urged the team to follow the laid down reform policies and plans of the outgoing team; adding that the new team will be held accountable for any policy that truncate the growth of the oil and gas industry.

Mr Ogun said that the incessant change in the management leadership of the NNPC will affect the investment drive in the oil and gas sector, saying that “no investor will want to put money in a sector that the government can wake up in one day and just decide to change the drivers of the reforms and policies that can grow such sector.”

He said that one of the requests of the union in various engagements it had with the government is that “the appointment and disengagement of the Group Managing Director (GMD) should be standardized and tailored over tenureship like other government agencies and parastatals.

“Without prejudice, we are against the process of appointment and removal of NNPC Group Managing Director because it has always drawn the industry backward. It does not engender continuity of development policies, as each of the appointed GMDs comes with their governance style and discontinue previous administration’s growth policies.

“In our various engagements with the government, we demanded that the appointment of the GMD should be based on tenure just as we have it in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), among others, should be put in the PIB.”

The Union leader said that in the last 10 years, the national oil corporation had six GMDs from Jackson Gaius-Obaseki to Austen Oniwon, while the CBN and the NCC have had two each with the same period, adding that this brings serious challenges of uncertainty and instability in such major appointments, in a volatile and strategic industry like the oil and gas.

While decisions have been taken and new drivers of the Corporation appointed, he said the government must address our concerns which we believe will go a long way in helping the growth of the oil and gas industry.