Oil workers strike will affect Port Harcourt area first: NUPENG

Oil workers strike will affect Port Harcourt area first: NUPENG

Monday, December 15, 2014 5:59 am

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

Nigeria's oil workers

Nigeria’s oil workers

The threatened shut down of Nigeria’s oil industry by the two oil workers union, will for now not be a nationwide strike, president of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) has declared.

Achese Igwe said he indefinite strike will begin today throughout the Port Harcourt zone, affecting Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers state.

Igwe made the clarification at the union’s thanksgiving service, held at the All Saint’s Anglican Church, Okochiri, Okrika, in Rivers State on Sunday.

Igwe said union members are downing tools because of the sack of Mrs Elo, a staff of Total Exploration and Production (Total E&P) and who also is the National Zonal Secretary of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Port Harcourt zone.

“We are graduating the processes. The issue is the sack of the national zonal secretary of PENGASSAN (Port Harcourt Zone), Mrs Elo Ogbonda.So, this is the basic challenge we are talking about. We are embarking on that strike because we have driven our processes to a level.

He said those behind the sack of Mrs Elo are blacks and Nigerians. He said the union had pleaded for her reinstatement but to no avail. According to Achese Igwe,Elo was elected by the people to serve them But, all of a sudden,her company refused because she was elected as a woman; the only thing they can do is to sack her and then queried her and compel her to proceed on forced leave of absence.

He wondered why the company punitively offered a leave of absence to her.The union said that just as it was yet to assess the impact of that query, the next thing she got was a sack letter.

“Now, we have been able to study the offer you made, restore this woman to her job, you said no. That because she was elected at the Port Harcourt zone, you want to transfer her back to the Lagos zone.

“But, the answer is no; she was elected in Port Harcourt zone, you cannot transfer her to Lagos. That is the political office of the workers. The workers elected her; she is representing the workers, not representing you as an institution or as a management,”Achese said.

The NUPENG boss, explained that the action was not to punish members of the public, especially during the Christmas period, but that they would sustain the strike, until Total E&P recalled the sacked PENGASSAN official.

“Nigerians know that we do not want to embark upon this strike action now. This issue has been on for a long period; we have done consultations. The Department of the State Security,DSS and the Ministry of Petroleum have also intervened and the NNPC, which is the checkmate of the oil and gas industry, have also intervened that the woman should be reinstated. But, Total E&P Nigeria Limited said refused.

“They said they are ready to pack out of this country and we want to help them to pack out of the country. If they do, there are millions of investors out there who also want to invest in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.

“We do not intend to create hardship for Nigerians. That is why we have decided to fashion out a way so that Nigerians would not feel the impact. We are not declaring a nationwide strike action as assumed. The zone where she came from would be shut down on Monday, until the issue is resolved and she is reinstated back to office. Without that, no going back.”NUPENG boss warned.

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  • Just Me says:

    The News, please do an investigative journalism before publishing. Pengassan has no right to embark on a national strike because of one person. There are courts in the land to address issues of conflict between an employee and an employer. What happened to the National Industrial Court, why must the masses suffer because of flimsy issues. We are truly living in a Banana Republic of all sorts

  • Dakare Enahoro says:

    What a shame reading through what Mr. Achese had to say to our already weakened people of this zone and Nigerians in general as reason for the strike action at a time like this. This is self serving, selfish and unpatriotic. Total certainly have not much to loose but our people have a lot. Where have Nupeng thrown our National Industrial Court laws to or has it become rather urgently a call to might? We must stop this malaise.

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