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Choose between industrial peace, or unrest — PENGASSAN tells employers

Says it ‘ll no longer tolerate impunity, abuse of workers’ rights

Stories by Victor Young

For some times now, unions in the Petroleum industry have been complaining and agitating against perceived impunity and cases of rights, abuses or denials and other forms of unfair Labour practices by employers in the sector without government rising up to the occasion to address the issue.

Members of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN during the picketing of General Electric, GE, in Lagos.

Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, leaders a few days ago at their National Executive Council, NEC, meeting in Lagos, sounded a note of warning that now that the elections are over, they are going to squarely confront employers who have a penchant for unfair Labour practices.

In a communique issued at the end of the meeting by PENGASSAN President and General Secretary, Francis Johnson and Lumumba Okugbawa, respectively, the body called “on the Government to channel the human capital potential of the Nigerian citizens towards optimizing productivity and economic growth of nationhood that we all crave for. The NEC-In-Session vows to confront all industrial issues with utmost seriousness now that the elections are over and all recalcitrant companies who think they are above Nigerian laws should brace up for a rude awakening, as the Association will explore all possible means to ensure no organization undermines any provisions of the country’s laws.

“NEC-In-Session observes with dismay the attitudes of some organizations such as CISCON, SDF, Petrobras and Sterling oil who are engaged in modern-day enslavement of workers; hence it urges the Federal Government through the Ministry of Labour and Employment to call these organizations to order to avoid an imminent industrial crisis in the sector.”

Total proposes sanctity of contracts, lower costs to grow investments in petroleum industry

Thumps on NNPC

According to the communique, members of NEC among others, also commended the “Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, management for rehabilitating and restoring some of its key assets such as the tank expansion at Atlas Cove Depot, re-opening of Depot facilities at Mosimi, Ibadan, Enugu, Aba and Kano, Aba-Port Harcourt pipeline, and Jetty expansion projects, among others. NEC also appreciates the Crude Oil Tracking initiatives which have blocked leakages and reduce crude oil theft. However, NEC-In-Session craves for the adoption of the same technology to the Pipelines monitoring activities using the Saudi Arabian models.

“NEC-In-Session is pleased with the flag-off and official commencement of crude oil search in the Kolmani Well River-ll, located near Barambu, Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi State. NEC believes this gesture has shown this administration’s commitment to grow Nigeria’s economy, boost capacity and provide energy sufficiency, strengthen Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.  The initiative will also go a long way in galvanizing the current Government’s national drive for job creation, youth empowerment and human capital development.

“NEC-In-Session commends NNPC management for their efforts in recruiting fresh graduate trainees and experienced hires, but appeals strongly that more emphasis should be given to in-house and qualified staff to also participate without hindrance in the recruitment.  NEC believes that this gesture will reduce the high rate of unemployed graduates in the Country.

“However, NEC-In-Session urges NNPC management to extend the recruitment to cover support staff and backup staff who are currently engaged with various contractors working for NNPC as well as employ artisans needed as lower cadre workers, and all agitations from various groups should be addressed.”

Failure of 8th NASS

Continuing, the communique noted that NEC members frowned “at the inability of the 8th National Assembly and the Federal Government to remove the grey areas hindering the passing and signing into law of the first part of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) known as the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) fourteen (14) years after. NEC therefore calls on the incoming lawmakers to engage the Executive arm of Government on the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill and the Petroleum Host and Impacted Community Bill because when passed into law will ensure the delivery of the full benefits of the Oil and Gas Reforms to the relevant stakeholders and restore investor’s confidence.”

Funding govt agencies

“NEC-In-Session frowns at the poor funding of Federal Government agencies in the Petroleum Industry and urges the Federal Government to increase the funding for agencies such as PTI, NNRA, DPR and PPPRA without further delay. NEC-In-Session also urges the Federal Government to direct its relevant organs to consider all proposed ways of increasing and generating funds for smooth running of these agencies and commence implementation of the 2015 harmonized Collective Bargaining Agreement, CBA template.”

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