The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has urged the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) to call off its strike in the interest of the nation.
“The federal government therefore urges PENGASSAN to urgently call off the strike so that all sides will freely negotiate. I am very optimistic that when we sit for negotiation on Monday, July 11, issues that had led to the situation on the ground will be resolved in the greater interest of the nation,” he said as he urged Nigerians to avoid panic buying of petroleum products.
A statement issued by the ministry’s Deputy Director (Press), Samuel Olowooekere, yesterday quoted the minister as saying that the strikes neither solve industrial disputes nor contribute to industrial growth, especially when the nation’s economy was already suffering from decade-long mismanagement.
“A situation where oil workers leave their offices and oil loading bases will not make for an increase in oil exports or make available enough petroleum products in this time of deregulation. This will only compound the vandalism in the Niger Delta, occasioning low output and export in our OPEC quota, apart from the unwarranted hardship on the populace,’’ the minister said.
He added that the nation at this point required patriotism even as he said negotiations had already started with PENGASSAN and International Oil Companies (IOCs) on most of the contentious areas, especially the issue of cash calls and arbitrary sack of personnel.