NUPENG may embark on indefinite strike
Following the deadlock in the emergency meeting called by the federal government to resolve the lingering dispute between the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and management of Chevron, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and Agip Oil Company, the oil workers are mulling embarking on indefinite strike.
NUPENG on Monday commenced a three-day warning strike to press home its grievances with the oil companies.
The oil junior oil workers' body directed all its members at the depots to stop loading petroleum products for the next three days to protest the alleged inhuman treatment of its members by the management of the three multinational oil companies.
The strike was also called to protest the refusal of Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) to implement the signed collective bargaining agreement with petroleum tanker drivers.
No agreement was reached at the meeting presided over by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu,which lasted until midnight on Monday.
Consequently, the union vowed to continue with its three-day warning strike, which is expected to end today after which it plans to embark on an indefinite industrial action if its demands are not met.
A lagas-based newspaper, THIS DAY, quoted a union leader, who attended the meeting, as assaying that the meeting was inconclusive because there was no commitment from the representatives of the multinational oil companies to implement the agreement reached with the union.
This, the source said, was because of the absence of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who was out of the country on an official assignment.
The National Executive Council (NEC) of NUPENG and its senior staff counterpart, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), met in Abuja on Tuesday.
The two bodies decried the current practice where the companies divest from oil blocks in Nigeria and go to reinvest in other African countries.
The unions also demanded the speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which is currently before the National Assembly to solve the problems in the sector.
Addressing reporters at the end of the meeting, NUPENG President, Igwe Achese, listed the major issues which had led to the warning strike to include the high level of insecurity in Nigeria, bad state of the roads, rising oil theft in the Niger Delta, non-adherence to guidelines on contract staffing/casualisation in the sector and abuse of expatriate quota.