General

Nigeria: Fuel Crisis Looms, As Oil Workers Mobilise Nationwide Strike Over Unresolved Issues

One of Nigeria’s oil workers unions, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, (PENGASSAN), has directed its members to prepare for strike from Thursday over some unresolved industry issues with the federal government.

In a statement, Monday, PENGASSAN directed its four zones to sensitize members for the planned strike.

The statement, signed by the spokesperson for the group, Lumumba Okugbawa, recalled the May 24, 2016 inconclusive negotiation with the government on issues affecting the oil industry.

The oil workers said a meeting with government, which was scheduled for June 23, was moved at the last minute to June 30.

The negotiation failed to resume even on that new date, as the planned meeting was again unceremoniously cancelled, with no new appointment given, the group said.

“We see this as a deliberate attempt by government to frustrate the discussion of the myriad of issues raised in the (May 24, 2016) Communique, which are critical to the survival of the oil and gas industry in the country,” the statement said.

The group recalled the issues raised with government during its May 24, 2016 meeting to include the huge joint venture/cash call arrears, which it said was stalling new investments and frustrating the creation of new jobs in the industry, as well as causing massive job losses among its members.

The association said the country’s tertiary institutions were producing graduates with little or no job placement opportunities, adding that even those with jobs were struggling to get salaries, while those in the services sector were regularly faced with threats of redundancies.

“We cannot fold our arms and watch this gradual collapse of our strategic oil and gas industry and its attendant consequences on the nation’s economy, which is a sharp contrast to the present government’s avowed promise on creation and retention of jobs.

“Based on the above, our members have been directed to embark on a gradual withdrawal of our services from their various offices, sites and production facilities effective Thursday, July 7, 2016 beginning from 12.01 hours,” the statement said.

If the oil workers make good their threat, the strike will disrupt the smooth supply of petroleum products Nigerians have been enjoying since normalcy was restored after labour suspended its industrial action in May following the removal of fuel subsidy and adjustment of fuel price of petrol from N86 to N145 per litre.

When contacted by PREMIUM TIMES, the spokesperson for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Garba Deen Mohammed, asked for time to consult with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, before commenting on the oil workers’ threat.

Source: Premium Times