The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN have threatened to go on a nationwide strike starting from midnight tomorrow, this is due to the face-off between union and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu.
Confirming this to newsmen in Port-Harcourt on Tuesday, the Rivers State Chairman of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, and former National Industrial Relations Officer of PENGASSAN, Chika Onuegbu, said all branches of the union were on high alert waiting for the directive of the national executives.
Comrade Onuegbu said: PENGASSAN and its members have been facing challenges recently due to the mass sack of its members by various oil and gas companies and that companies have been facing serious challenges due to slump in oil prices, militant attacks.
He added that the Federal Government is owing the JV partners about 7 billion US Dollars piled up from the indebtedness of the previous administrations, which was about 5 billion Dollars before it racked up to about 7 billion as at today.
“As we speak now, we are not going on strike for strike’s sake, but we are going on strike to attract the attention of the federal government to address the concerns of workers on the debt to the JV Partners and also address the lingering labour issues in the industry.
“Government should be able to do that by midnight of Wednesday. Failure to do that, we will mobilize our members to close offices from Wednesday to Friday this week and by Monday next week we will stop the crude oil production.
“Since the year 2000, the government has been promising to reform the oil sector, to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, but till date, it has been motion without movement. The only thing they succeeded in doing is to allocate oil blocs to cronies and the masses are suffering,” Onuegbu lamented.