The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has shelved its planned strike earlier slated to begin from Tuesday midnight, following interventions from the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, and his Petroleum counterpart, Ibe Kachikwu.
The union had complained of several issues affecting its members, including the threat of sack by International Oil Companies, IOCs, owing to government’s inability to pay arrears of Joint Venture Cash Call, JVCC, to partners.
Kachikwu explained to the workers that the petroleum ministry was carrying out reforms regarding the JVCC, especially with the global fall in oil price, and assured that there would be positive outcome when next they meet in June.
On his part, the labour minister said his ministry was working through the Oil Industry Stakeholders’ committee to deal with labour matters affecting Nigerians, particularly in areas like long contracting of staff, casualization and unilateral declaration of redundancy by the oil contractors and the International Oil Companies and also the frequent and needless threats of strike by labour unions.
“We all recall that this committee was headed by the late Hon. Min. of State for Labour and Employment, Bar. James Ocholi but in view of the importance and the urgency of the committee, I will assume its full leadership in June to accelerate and bring its assignment to a fruitful completion, part of which is to generate some oil- labour regulations into laws for the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB),” the minister was quoted in a statement issued by spokesperson for the labour ministry, Samuel Olowookere.
The head of PENGASSAN, Francis Johnson, while thanking the two ministers for their interventions, said his group was satisfied with government’s explanation, hence, the decision to abort the strike action.
At the next meeting, scheduled for June 23, 2016, inputs are expected from the Ministries of Finance, Budget and Planning and Works, Power and Housing regarding issues raised by the union.
In a related development, the Federal Government is today expected to resume its dialogue with the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, headed by Ayuba Wabba, over issues that led to last week’s nationwide protest.