By Appolos Christian
Barely 24 hours they promised to suspended a 21-day strike ultimatum, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have said that they cannot guarantee industrial harmony in the oil and gas sector if the Federal Government failed to address the “increasing anti-labour impunities of the International Oil Companies (IOCs) and their Nigerian counterparts.”
After a joint National Administrative Council (NAC) and National Executive Council (NEC) meeting under the umbrella of NUPENGASSAN, the unions condemned what it termed “the increasing impunities and anti-labour tendencies of most indigenous and multinational oil companies in the oil and gas industry.”
The President of PENGASSAN and Chairman of NUPENGASSAN, Comrade Olabode Johnson, told journalists in Abuja on Wednesday that the situation was compounded by the inability of the Federal Government to address the situation because the ministry saddled with that task is handicapped and lacked understanding of the situation.
He said: “The situation was compounded by the fact that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment that is supposed to be the watchdog in the area of compliance with extant labour laws is unfortunately handicapped because of poor understanding of the contract processing and workings in the oil and gas industry.
“The Council noted that many of the cases referred to the ministry are not properly and adequately handled, thus leaving the workers and the union frustrated,” he said.
While he advocated for the establishment of a special body to mediate on the issues, Olabode said: “The Council-in-Session demands that a special mediation unit comprising experts from NNPC Human Resources, NAPIMS and other relevant units be set up to apprehend industrial relations/labour disputes and treat them with despatch before escalating to level of any form of Industrial actions.”