The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) workers have renewed their threat to shut down the oil sector if the federal government goes ahead with its plan to privatise the refineries.
According to them, selling the refineries without their participation would amount to shaving their heads in their absence.
The oil workers also insisted that the transaction should follow due process to ensure that the most competent investors emerge as the core investors.
The two oil workers unions that spoke in their reaction to the setting up of a steering committee by President Goodluck Jonathan to oversee the process, also told Thisday yesterday that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) must be passed as a pre-condition for the sale of the refineries.
General Secretary, National Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Mr. Isaac Aberare, said the union was yet to be officially informed of any stakeholders’ committee set up by the government.
Aberare, who spoke in a telephone conversation with Thisday, reiterated the union’s decision to embark on a nationwide strike until government rescinds its decision to privatise the refineries.
He hinted that NUPENG and its sister union- the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) would soon meet to fix a date for the execution of the planned industrial action.
“Government must engage labour unions in the sector to discuss the model for the planned privatisation. We were not informed about any committee being set up. If government sets up a committee without involving the labour then, they have not met our demand.
“At the intervention meeting with the Minister of Power shortly after our protest, we emphasised that government should retract the plan to privatise the refineries and engage the unions but up till now, they have not met nor informed us of any meeting.
“The leadership of NUPENG and the PENGASSAN will soon meet and take a decision on the execution of our planned protest. It is at that meeting that a date will be fixed for our protest,” Aberare said.
The two unions had officially kicked against the planned privatisation of the four refineries since the pronouncement was made few weeks ago.