ABUJA, JULY 12, 2016 – The meeting between the Federal Government and oil workers unions in Abuja on Monday ended in deadlock and would continue on Tuesday.The unions are the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of Petroleum Natural Gas Workers( NUPENG).
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, said the meeting was moved to Tuesday due to the absence of officials of some international and local oil companies(IOC).
Kachikwu said the meetings were collaborative and frank, adding that all the issues they planned to handle were handled and conclusions were reached.
He, however, said that one issue could not be addressed at the meeting, hence the decision to conclude deliberations on that issue on Tuesday.
Commenting on bad roads leading to the refineries which was one one of the issues, Kachikwu said they intend to undertake the repairs of the roads, in conjunction with the Ministry of Power, Works and housing.
Also, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr. Chris Ngige, said that the meeting was adjourned till Tuesday due to the absence of IOCs.
Ngige said IOCs absence made it impossible to discuss the issue of unfair labour practices which the labour officials claimed was prevalent in the industry.
He also said that the Federal Government made efforts to provide the workers with information on the various issues that needed clarifications.
The issues, he said, included Joint Venture Cash Calls, collective bargaining agreement in their condition of services, issues of emoluments and the Petroleum Industry Bill, (PIB).
This, he said, was properly addressed.
He said that one major items of contention was the issue of Joint Venture cash Calls, which had reduced investment and forced the companies to close down and lay off workers.
“The meeting will continue tomorrow to deliberate on the issue of unfair labour practices in the petroleum sector.
“The meeting will include officials of IOC, and indigenous oil companies which were accused of laying off workers without going through the normal redundancy clause in the Labour laws.
“The meeting was not inconclusive. What we discussed at the Monday meeting was in our time table, because we could not discuss everything in one day.
“Why we did not conclude it today is because the IOCs are not here. We did not invite them today,” he said .
He expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the meeting so far, and said that the oil workers were expected to meet with their various National Executive Committees,, where the discontinuation of the strike mighty be announced.
Responding, PENGASSAN President, Olabode Johnson, said the meeting ended in deadlock
“We did not adjourn the meeting because the meeting was deadlocked, we had to push it forward to tomorrow because we wanted to fine-tune the areas of discussion.
“The issues we discussed included the need to curb the anti-labour practices in the sector and the payment of cash calls and the way going forward.
“We also discussed the rehabilitation of the roads that lead to the Warri refinery as well as that of the Mosimi.
“We also deliberated on the PIB and the need for government to move quickly to ensure its passage.” he said.
He commended the Federal Government for the ‘high-powered delegation it sent to the meeting.
Present at the meeting were Kachikwu, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr Chris Ngige; Permanent Secretaries of Ministries of Labour and Budget and Planning, as well the Group Managing Director of the NNPC.
Also present were officials of NUPENG and PENGASSAN, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) Sen. Ita Enang, representative of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and representative of the Attorney General of the Federation.