Yuletide: PENGASSAN says strike Imminent unless Government complies
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has warned that its planned Monday 18th December strike is imminent unless Government intervene in the unfriendly Labour practices going on in the oil and gas sector.
In a statement made available to The Nation in Abuja signed by the General Secretary, Lumumba Okugbawa, the union singled out one of the companies operating in the Sector, Neconde Energy Ltd (of Nestoil Group of companies) as one of the companies that has entrenched unfriendly Labour practices in contravention of the nation’s Labour laws.
It accused the company of failing to remit taxes and pensions deducted from workers to government, while boasting that no government official can call it to order, adding that workers who decided to join unions are treated as slaves in their own country and dismissed from work”
The union is asking the government to compel the company to recalled all sacked workers within seven days and stick to the nation’s Labour laws, adding that failure to do that, the union will have no other option than to call out its members on a nationwide indefinite strike action.
The union said that the strike action will lead to shutting down all oil and gas installations, including disruptions to fuel supply and distribution, adding that the company has not only conducted itself as being above the provisions of extant laws and regulations guiding the operations of oil and gas companies in Nigeria, but has also severally boasted that no government agency can call it to order.
The statement said: “The Association recalls her communique issued at the end of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of October 13, 2017 held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. One of the resolutions thereof was the condemnation of Indigenous Oil and Gas Companies and Marginal Field Operators, concerning their anti labour posture and practices including the termination of the employment of any workers who has indicated willingness to belong to the union.
“Those who are threatened and compelled to disown the union are then treated as slave workers within their own country. The case of Neconde Energy Ltd (of Nestoil Group of companies) is particularly worrisome as the issue of dignity in labour and infringement on workers’ rights to freedom of Association is foreign to them leading to mass sack of workers that joined the Union and dehumanization of same in total disregard to rule of engagement and the laws of the land.
“The actions of companies such as Neconde in mass sack of Nigerian workers contribute in no small measure to the unending militancy in the Niger Delta.
“This company has not only conducted itself as being above the provisions of extant laws and regulations guiding the operations of oil and gas companies in Nigeria, but has also severally boasted that no government agency can call it to order.
“It was therefore no surprise that Neconde has defied multiple interventions from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the top Management of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) for the company to toe the path of law and order and comply with Nigerian labour laws.
“The company is apparently bolstered by the fact that it has continued, without any sanctions from government regulatory authorities, to flagrantly breach the provisions of the Personal Income Tax Amendment Act (PITA) and Pension Reform Act (PRA) by not remitting deducted income taxes and pension contributions to the Lagos and Delta states’ boards of internal revenue and authorized Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) respectively.
“The owners and management of Neconde have therefore made themselves to believe that they are above the laws and government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Having explored all options without getting the necessary understanding, and an apparent failure of relevant authorities of Government to call to order these recalcitrant organizations especially Neconde, PENGASSAN gives the Federal Government and its relevant Agencies seven (7) days’ notice to embark on a nationwide strike effective December 18, 2017 if government fails to direct the Management of Neconde and other companies to recall our sacked members as the only option to address this injustice and lawlessness.
“PENGASSAN appeals to all Nigerians to show understanding and to use this window to stockpile adequate quantity of premium motor spirit (PMS) and other petroleum products that will last them during the upcoming festive period as this strike will be indefinite.”