Oil workers under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have again threatened to disrupt oil and gas operations across the country if the federal government fails to pay their salaries today
The protesting senior oil workers, who commenced the peaceful protests on Wednesday, gathered at the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Effurun, Delta State, yesterday in continuation of their three-day warning strike.
The protesters, clad in red attires, displayed placards with inscriptions such as “PENGASSAN Says No To IPPIS” We Say No To Salary Reduction Using IPPIS,” and “We Are Not Against IPPIS but Create Another Platform That Addresses Our Peculiarities,” among others.
The senior oil workers had on August 13 threatened to shut down all oil operations but backed out following intervention by top government officials, who promised to address their grievances.
THISDAY learnt that the oil workers and the federal government did not reach an acceptable compromise hence the renewed strike action that commenced three days ago.
Addressing the members, the Branch Chairman of PENGASSAN, Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Comrade Zarakiya Ahmad Muhammad warned that if their salaries are not released by today then the federal government should be ready to contend with total shutdown of operations in the industry.
Muhammad, who was in company of Secretary of Regulators Forum, Prince Audi Oshiokhamele and the Chairman of PTI branch of NUPENG, Mr. Ejokirhie Jahpurpose expressed surprise that the Federal Ministry of Finance failed to pay their August and September salaries while negotiations were still ongoing.
The Chairman of PENGASSAN said that aside the seizure of their two months salaries, the strike was also informed by the clumsy manner in which members were enrolled on the IPPIS.
He said that, though the union supported all government’s effort to achieve transparency and accountability in government, it should not be to the detriment of the oil workers.
“We are concerned with the ways our members in some government agencies are being treated with respect to IPPIS.
“We are not averse to instruments of transparency in this country. Any system that offers accountability to the governance of Nigeria we are in for it, but do not do injustice to our members. IPPIS does not take care of our peculiarities,” he warned.
He vowed that the industrial action will continue until their grievances are addressed.
Secretary of Regulators Forum, Prince Audu Oshiokhamele called on relevant government officials to address their issues as a matter of priority adding that “our grievances include bastardisation of our salaries by IPPIS and non-release of personnel cost for PPPRA and PTI for August 2020, salaries arrears from March 2015 to December 2016 are also outstanding”.
By Sylvester Idowu