By Ediri Ejoh
Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has declared a nationwide strike, heightening fears of fuel scarcity in the country.
PENGASSAN President, Festus Osifo confirmed the union’s position during his appearance on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, yesterday.
“Today (yesterday), PENGASSAN has declared a strike. Our members are sitting at home and we will continually watch the situation and if we need to rev it up, we will definitely rev it up,’’ he said.
Osifo explained that the industrial action followed the inability of the Federal Government to address the issues raised by the oil and gas workers.
He stated that the union had given the government a seven-day ultimatum in a statement issued penultimate Monday to respond to the issues.
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Another issue that is of concern to the union, according to the PENGASSAN president, is that relating to the action of a private oil company which he accused of destroying PENGASSAN structure in its workforce.
He said management of the company sacked literarily all union executive members and went ahead to lock members out for a very long time.
The issues raised by the oil and gas workers were a fallout of the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS, by the government regarding the payment of salaries.
While the union said it didn’t have preference for any tool used by the government to pay salaries, workers’ remuneration must be paid without any shortfall.
Osifo decried that the arrears and allowances of some union members at Petroleum Training Institute, PTI; Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA; Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority; NNRA; and the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, were seized sometimes in the year.
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