• Monday, June 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

In fresh blow to the economy, Nigeria’s oil workers press on with strike

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In further blow to the economy, Nigerian oil workers are walking away from their posts Thursday despite reports that the government had commenced talks with their leaders, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has said.

The acting general secretary of PENGASSAN, Lumumba Okugbawa, said Thursday morning that the leaders of the workers were  unaware of any negotiations between any arm of the association and the government on any of their demands.

“It is not true there are on-going negotiations between PENGASSAN and government. Apart from the inconclusive negotiation on June 23, which was rescheduled to June 30, only to be put off indefinitely with no further appointment, we are not aware of any other negotiation with government,” Okugbawa said.

He said reports of negotiations with the oil workers was part of the government’s characteristic way of causing confusion whenever a strike notice is issued.

“If government was sincere, why would it always wait till after the strike had already started before coming out in the media to talk about non-existing negotiations?” he asked.

Okugbawa said the Federal Ministry of Labour had sent an email to the leadership of PENGASSAN late on Wednesday inviting them to a meeting scheduled for Thursday (today) when the strike was planned to commence.

He said the ministry later sent a text message to reschedule the meeting for Friday, saying the previous schedule was not convenient, in view of the extended public holiday.

But, Okugbawa said the association had since replied the government that the Friday schedule was equally not convenient, as it could not get all its top executives from across the country where they were deployed to monitor the beginning of the strike.