Oil Sector Major Unions Down Tools 

Yemisi Izuora

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, on Monday, November 9, commenced an indefinite strike over disputed irregularities in the Federal Government-imposed centralised payroll system, IPPIS.

PENGASSAN stated that this latest industrial action was also borne out of the retrenchment of its workers by multinational oil corporation; Baker Hughes which laid off at least 64 workers in flagrant breach of an agreement with the union.

This decision was contained in a letter issued by the PENGASSAN general secretary Lumumba Okugbawa.

It directed its nationwide formations to withdraw their services, effective from midnight November 8.

Okugbawa explained this was after an impasse with government authorities upon expiration of its 7-day ultimatum.

The letter titled: ‘Breach in agreement on IPPIS implementation and redundancy in Baker Hughes’ reads; “We refer to the above letter dated November 2nd, 2020 where we gave 7-Days ultimatum and a further extension to the relevant government agencies and institutions. Regrettably and upon expiration of the ultimatum; nothing concrete has been done with regards to the outstanding issues as enumerated in the letter.

“In view of the above and with the expiration of the ultimatum and subsequent extension; you are hereby advised to withdraw your services effective 12 midnight on Sunday, November 8th, 2020.”

The indefinite strike by PENGASSAN is expected to paralyse oil/gas facilities and disrupt distribution of petroleum products across the country.

The Union had frowned at the impromptu sacking of its members by Baker Hughes; despite entreaties made to the servicing company domiciled in Lagos and Port Harcourt.

The Union which comprises both upper and mid-level employees in the petroleum and gas industry had also condemned the huge deduction in the salaries of its members supposedly engineered by the IPPIS.

“We are concerned with the ways our members in some government agencies are being treated with respect to IPPIS”, PENGASSAN National Industrial Officer Kelechi Ugwulor stated in an interview.

“In the month of September, our members in NNRA had huge sums of money deducted from their salaries…We have decided that enough is enough,” Mr. Ugwulor added.

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