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Thursday, 05 October 2017 14:29

BREAKING!! Oil Unions Threaten Strike Over N800bn Debts

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The petroleum downstream sector seems set for another crisis, with key unions threatening to go on strike.

 

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Senior Staff Association (PENGASAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have served notice of a nationwide indefinite strike over the Federal Government’s inability to settle debts of over N800 billion owed oil marketers.

The marketers are Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) and Independent Petroleum Products Importers (IPPIs).

The unions said:”Our members working with oil companies have not been paid salaries for up to nine months by marketers due to inability of the government to redeem its commitment to pay in spite of the intervention of the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and the directive given to the Minister of Finance to effect payment on or before the end of July 2017.”

The notice of the indefinite strike has been received by the marketers, who are the employers of the unions’ members.

A joint communiqué by the marketers after their joint National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held on Tuesday, signed by legal adviser Patrick Etim, said in the last six months, the unions “have been inundated by officials of our various Labour units operating in Tank Farms and Depots across the country that most petroleum product importers and marketing companies are owing their members backlog of salaries now up to nine months”.

NUPENG and PENGASAN claimed that the children of their members had been sent away from school because their parents were unable to pay their fees.

The communique reads: “The most disturbing aspect of this is that many members are now redundant as their employers are not able to operate their bank account for their operations with a potential massive job losses of our members in the oil and gas sector and other workers in the banking sector due to the growing size of this non-performing loans extended to oil marketers with a catastrophic banking system collapse looming in the country.

“This will definitely puncture any growth gains made in the economy so far, considering that the sector will completely fail in its critical role of driving economic progress, resulting in huge job losses directly and indirectly.

“It is factual that currently many of the oil marketing companies are owing backlog of salaries up to nine months in arrears while some marketers have started retrenchment of workers as a result.”

 

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