Stories by Bimbola Oyesola, 08033246177
Oil workers, under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have called on stakeholders, especially the federal government, to take a number of coordinated steps to resolve some of the problems bedeviling the oil and gas industry in the country.
The workers, who, among others, looked into the issue of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), attacks on national assets, rehabilitation of refineries and other government-owned oil installations, anti-labour position and practices of indigenous companies and marginal field operators, contract and casual staffing, infrastructural decay, national industrial relations crisis, among others, commended the present National Assembly’s efforts to pass the PIB Bill.
The union lamented that Nigeria has lost so much revenue and new investments due to the delay in its passage.
PENGASSAN reaffirmed its commitment to collaborate with other stakeholders to ensure the passage of the Bill, adding that it would ensure that the lacuna, particularly the adverse labour clauses identified in the Bill are addressed before its passage.
The oil workers condemned the continuous attacks on national assets such as pipelines and other oil and gas installations in the country, which have caused enormous damage to the industry’s revenue. PENGASSAN called for stronger security strategies and modern equipment to end unnecessary attacks and vandalism of national assets.
While the union acknowledged efforts of government to rehabilitate the nation’s refineries, which are in appalling condition, for optimal delivery, it implored government to immediately carry out a comprehensive turnaround maintenance in all the four state-owned refineries.
PENGASSAN also called on the federal government to come out with distinct plans and implementation strategies for crude supply to the refineries.
The union said, “We also note the positive impact of the planned modular and other private refineries on the industry and the economy as a whole. We, therefore, emphasises the need to be proactive in labour-related issues that will arise therefrom.
“We also demand that facilities such as depots, jetties, tank farms, pipelines and pump stations be rehabilitated along with the refineries to ease supply of crude oil to the refineries as well as evacuation and distribution of refined products throughout the country.”
The workers condemned the anti-union posture of indigenous oil and gas companies and marginal field operators, and called on regulatory institutions and business partners, Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, DPR, NNPC/NAPIMS, international oil companies, and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to call such companies to order.
The senior staff union said it has resolved to resist any company that infringed on workers’ rights to freedom of association and lawful assembly.
It called on the federal government to urgently reconvene the Ministerial Committee on Contract and Casual Staffing, which was chaired by the late Minister of State for Labour and Employment, James Ocholi, to address all issues on the abuse of service contract provisions in the oil and gas industry.