This Day (Lagos)

15 February 2013

Nigeria: Ogftz - Oil Workers Suspend Planned Strike

The organised labour in the oil and gas industry on Thursday suspended its planned warning strike scheduled to commence today.

The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) had threatened to embark on a three-day warning strike to compel oil companies operating in the Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone to allow unionisation in accordance with the Nigerian labour laws.

The strike was suspended by the Joint Action Committee of NUPENG and PENGASSAN based on a communique signed after a meeting with Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu and officials of the Onne Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone.

In the communiqué, the Federal Government gave all companies operating within the Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone 90 days to allow workers unionise, stressing that a situation where only five out of over a 100 companies operating in the zone are unionised is unacceptable and inconsistent with Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution.

One of the labour leaders who confirmed the suspension of the strike, said a follow up meeting would be held between the unions and the OGFTZ Authority tomorrow.

The labour leader, however warned that any attempt by government or OGFTZ authority to dishonour the agreement reached with labour would be resisted, stressing that the unions would not hesitate to embark on an indefinite national strike that will include shutting down of oil and gas production and export activities without any notice.

"We have done this with the hope that the Federal Government and the authorities of the Onne Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone will honour the agreement and communique. We will monitor on a monthly basis progress on the implementation of the communique. We want to state clearly that if we notice any insincerity on the part of the Fed Governement or the authorities of the OGFTZ or the investors, we shall commence an indefinite national strike that will include shutting down of oil and gas production and export activities without any notice," the labour leader said.

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