Oil workers vow to continue strike

Striking oil workers yesterday vowed that there was no going back on their action until unresolved issues of the management of their pension were addressed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
This is contained in a statement by Mr Babatunde Oke, the Media and Information Officer of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) in Abuja.
The workers embarked on strike on Monday in protest against the seeming refusal of NNPC to address the pension issue.
The statement said that contrary to media reports that NNPC had resolved the issue and other demands of the workers, there was total shutdown at all NNPC offices and locations nationwide since the strike commenced.
“The strike will still continue until there is concrete commitment from the NNPC management to find a lasting solution to the issues.
“The strike has affected all the subsidiaries of the NNPC, including the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company and Port Harcourt Refining Company.
“The Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, National Engineering and Technical Company Limited, Nigeria Gas Company, Hyson, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, National Petroleum Investment Management Services, Integrated Data Services Limited and Department of Petroleum Resource are all affected,” it said.
According to the statement, the workers are demanding for adequate and regular funding of the closed pension system.
It said that the workers also wanted urgent steps to be taken in carrying out Turn-Around Maintenance (TAM) on the four refineries as agreed between government and the two workers’ unions.
The statement said the demand of the workers also included the supply and restoration of crude to the refineries.
It urged NNPC to put machinery in place for automatic funding of the pension system “without any bureaucratic bottlenecks.”
According to the statement, funding has been delayed due to the inability of the board of the NNPC to meet for over a year to approve the proposal for the management for the funding of the pension system.
The workers called on the Federal Government to implement the issue of TAM without delaying the Memorandum of Understanding between it and their unions to carry out maintenance on the refineries.
“The government promised to commence the TAM in April, but this is September; we have not seen any commitment from the government on this,” the statement said.
It claimed that NNPC was reluctant to carry out the maintenance of the refineries because it was handling 60 per cent of current importation of petroleum products into the country.
According to the workers, as at now, the management of the NNPC has not called for another meeting to resolve the issue.
Meanwhile, the NNPC has appealed to the leadership of the unions to exercise restraint while it met with PENCOM to resolve the pension issues.
The appeal is contained in a statement issued by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Department, Mr Ohi Alegbe on Tuesday in Abuja.
The NNPC Management also urged members of the public not to engage in panic buying of petroleum products, assuring that plans were on to address the pending issues.