BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
AHEAD of Friday expiration of a 14-day ultimatum issued to Belbop/Conoil over alleged refusal to honour a 2008 agreement, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has directed members to get ready to shut down operations of the firms across the country.
General Secretary of PENGASSAN, Mr. Bayo Olowoshile, said it was part of the Central Working Committee, CWC, resolution on the Belbop/Conoil, at a recent meeting in Calabar.
According to the 11-point agreement between Belbop/Conoil and the two unions in the petroleum industry, PENGASSAN and its National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, had on on October 8, 2008, agreed among others that “management commits to pay 3% on all wage re-opener items in line with the agreement collective bargaining agreement, CBA, effective October 1, 2006, that management commits to implement the Employees Home Ownership Grant EHOG but on pro-rata basis in compliance with the subsisting CBA, that management commits to pay all outstanding leave allowances including buying back the unspent leave of the employees and that separation ex-gratia shall be paid as follows: Senior Staff; N1.5million and junior staff N1million.
Yesterday statement by Mr. Olowoshile, read in part: “The directive by the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting primarily targets every businesses and interests of Belbop/Conoil in the first instance and every other interests doing business(es) with Conoil/Belbop within and outside the Oil and Gas Sector.
The impending labour action is in pursuant of the Communiqué between NUPENG/PENGASSAN and Belbop/Conoil management since October 8, 2007 and reneged commitment by Belbop/Conoil which the NEC is poised to see to logical conclusion. Further to that, all our members are being sensitized and mobilized for solidarity action as shall be required, to compel Belbop/Conoil management to honour the Clause 12 of the Communiqué reached.”
“I wish to point out that the Communique in reference was reached after series of mediation efforts by the Honourable Minister of Labour and Productivity on the issue. Both parties agreed through internal dispute settlement mechanism and a Communiqué was signed by the parties on October 8, 2007.
Several meetings with management of Belpob/Conoil following further intervention efforts by the Hononorable Minister of Labour & Productivity who stressed the need to honour agreement or find the amicable way forward. All the efforts were rebuffed by Belbop management which made the issue to linger with labour actions consequences.”