COVID-19: PENGASSAN petitions DPR, raises alarm over workers' mental health condition

*Seeks return to pre-COVID work schedule

By Victor Ahiuma-Young

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has petitioned the Directorate of Petroleum Resources, DPR, raising the alarm over the mental health conditions of members and other distortions in work life balance as a result of COVID-19 pandemic-induced work schedule and rotations.

The umbrella body for senior oil workers in the country lamented that 28/28 work rotation, as directed by DPR at the outbreak and peak of COVID-19 pandemic, had been having a telling effect on workers and their families.

PENGASSAN is asking the DPR to order a reversal to status quo, which is 14/14 work schedule to avoid a looming industrial unrest in the sector.

Vanguard gathered that the issue was already causing restiveness across the oil industry, especially in the upstream.

According to source, but for the quick intervention of the PENGASSAN national secretariat, the workers of Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, would have begun an industrial action.

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PENGASSAN, in the petition by its General Secretary, Lumumba Okugbawa, to the Director of DPR, among others, “recall that at the outbreak and peak of COVID-19 pandemic, you issued a guideline.

“You directed all industry players in offshore and remote locations to adopt 28/28 work rotation and the association collaborated in its implementation.

“However, with the flattening of curve in the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the various lockdown measures the government has taken, we requested through the reference letter for a reversal to 14/14 work schedule, which was not heeded to.

“Considering the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine for some time now and as a good number of people have already been vaccinated, we, therefore, request that you use your good offices to redirect a reversal to status quo, which is 14/14 work schedule.

“As we explained in our referenced letter, the 28/28 work rotation is causing stress, distortions in work life balance with its attendant effect on the health of our members and their families.

“This is getting our members agitated in our industry.

“We look forward to your kind disposition and urgent action in reversal to 14/14 work schedule, in order to avert a breakdown of the industrial peace and harmony prevailing, which we are finding increasingly difficult to maintain as a result.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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