Nigerians may endure a difficult Yuletide season, as two of the country’s major oil workers’ unions have declared their intention start an indefinite strike on Monday. The declaration was made in a joint statement issued by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG). The unions said the action is aimed at forcing the passage of a new law and meeting several other longstanding demands.
“The strike will affect all operations in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry, as members will be withdrawn from all oil and gas installations,” the unions said in a joint statement on Sunday.
Among their demands are the adoption of the long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) aimed at overhauling the inefficient and corrupt sector and tackling unhealthy labour practices by oil companies and government agencies.
The unions said the strike was also provoked by “the inability of the government to carry out turnaround maintenance of the refineries” and its failure to reduce petrol prices at the pump to reflect the fall in global oil prices.
The unions said their members have been mobilised and that they will not back down until the government and operators showe “a strong commitment” to resolve the issues.
They accused the government of failing to keep its promises to maintain the refineries and ensure they had an adequate supply of crude oil, as well as neglecting to combat pipeline vandalism.
The unions also demanded improvements to the country’s deplorable roads.
In addition, the unions workers are piqued over the alleged sacking of the Zonal Secretary of PENGASSAN, Port Harcourt Zone, Elo Ogbonda, by Total Exploration and Production.
Mrs. Ogbonda, according to reports, was earlier transferred from Port Harcourt to Lagos so that she would lose her position in PENGASSAN.