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    Wednesday, July 3, 2013

    FG, NUPENG Meeting Deadlocked

    The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) yesterday insisted that its three days’ warning strike would continue today, just as a meeting called at the instance of minister of labour Mr Emeka Wogu was inconclusive.

    National president of NUPENG Comrade Igwe Achese, who spoke after a joint NEC meeting with the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), said the NEC of the union was meeting last night to review the ongoing industrial action.

    “We had a meeting with the minister of labour on Monday but the meeting was inconclusive because we had a joint conference meeting with PENGASSAN; so we could not deliberate extensively,” he said.
    Achese added that the action was not to create hardship for Nigerians but to protect the jobs that are existing in the country and to stop labour enslavement in the country.

    He also claimed the union could not fold its hands as the nation allowed Nigerians to be enslaved in the oil and gas sector. “It is sad and we must say no to anti-people policy, but it is after the NEC meeting that we will be able to talk to the press if our strike will be put on hold,” he stated. “On PIB, oil theft, divestment, bad roads, general insecurity, guidelines on casualisation, expatriate quota -- the joint council in session is requesting urgently the federal government, the various institutions to address these issues as quickly as possible.”

    He also said that PENGASSAN had suspended its seven-day ultimatum to give room for dialogue on the issues, adding that stakeholders in the industry would be meeting today to fine-tune ways to end the crisis permanently.

    NUPENG orders closure of filling stations in Lagos
    Indications emerged last night that the Lagos State chapter of NUPENG may have directed filling station attendants in the state to stop selling petroleum products to customers as part of the ongoing warning strike which entered the second day on Tuesday.

    Chairman of the chapter Alhaji Tokunboh Korodo was quoted as saying that the directive became necessary to make the federal government feel the impact of the industrial action.

    Korodo said filling station attendants are members of the union and they should not be isolated from the current action.

    Queues creep into Lagos
    As the NUPENG warning strike entered the second day, queues yesterday started creeping into Lagos, but there was still relative calm in the city as  some petroleum-dispensing outlets still sold products to motorists at regulated prices.

    Though a handful of stations were rationing products, an insignificant number was shut down. This caused miserable situation for motorists who now had to queue to buy at filling stations operating.

    Fuel scarcity persists in Ibadan
    In a related development, petroleum scarcity yesterday persisted in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, as all the petrol stations were under lock and key.
    Most of the filling stations refused to sell the products to motorists while several others witnessed long queues of vehicles.

    FG must respect sanctity of collective agreement - NLC
    The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has registered its solidarity with the nationwide strike action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) to compel the federal government to respect the agreement signed with ASUU since 2009 to pay lecturers their earned allowances.

    Similarly, the labour body expressed its support to the three-day warning strike embarked upon by the NUPENG that started on Monday, July 1, to “press home its demand for an end to unfair labour practices by some international oil companies (IOCs) notably Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Chevron Nigeria Limited and Nigeria Agip Oil Company toward its members”.

    According to the general-secretary of National Union of Textile & Garment Workers (NUTGTWN), Issa Aremu, who is also the vice-president, NLC, in a press release issued on the strike actions, “Once an agreement is signed, it becomes binding on the two parties, in this case the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). Acting contrary to the terms of collective agreement as done by the federal government is a violation that is injurious to the industrial relations process.”

    He said ASUU strike is a legitimate move to enforce an agreement freely entered into with the federal government four years ago.
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