PENGASSAN, FG talks deadlocked as union insists downing tools Monday
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, (PENGASSAN) has maintained that its planned industrial action will commence on Monday.
The group however, noted that it was ready to discuss with the government and other concerned organisations on the strike.
According to PENGASSAN, nothing has changed since it issued a statement to announce that its meeting with the Federal Government to avert the strike ended in a stalemate.
The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC) Ndu Ughamadu, however disclosed that the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, has been meeting with the unions in the oil sector to ensure stability in the industry.
Ughamadu was optimistic that the NNPC would be able to persuade the association to rescind its decision to embark on strike by Monday, as the planned industrial action had led to panic buying in Abuja.
He said long queues of motorists had been noticed at the few filling stations that dispensed petrol on Saturday.
PENGASSAN on Friday announced that it would embark on an indefinite strike on Monday, following a stalemate in the peace meeting which the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, brokered between the union and Neconde Energy Limited.
The oil union and Neconde had been embroiled in crisis over allegation of anti-worker practices.
The union alleged that the management of Neconde wrongly terminated the employment of some of its workers, and threatened to go on strike if the sacked workers were not recalled within 72 hours.
The issue made the government to initiate a meeting between the two parties in Abuja last week, but the meeting ended in a deadlock.
When asked if the union would halt the strike should the government meet with its officials on the matter, the Public Relations Officer, PENGASSAN, Fortune Obi replied, “One thing you should know is that at PENGASSAN, we are a body of professionals and we are open to discussion at all times because we believe in dialogue. We keep our doors open for effective discussions and that has been our style.”
Meanwhile, many motorists queued for petrol on Saturday, as some users of the commodity said they were stockpiling fuel in order to have enough should PENGASSAN embark on strike on Monday.
“It’s better to stockpile fuel now because PENGASSAN is going on strike by Monday, and once that happens, the fuel scarcity situation will worsen,” said one of the motorists at the largest NNPC mega station along the Kubwa-Zuba Expressway identified only as Sam.