NUPENG praises Buhari, calls off strike

– The oil workers had commenced on a strike over several unresolved issues including payment – Mr Igwe Achese says all the issues had been resolved and the strike called off

The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) on Wednesday, January 12, 2017 suspended its three-day nationwide warning strike after a meeting with officials of the federal government.

The strike which had commenced on Wednesday, January 12, 2017 had led to halting of all oil related activities in the country.

Unresolved issues, including pay and job loss disputes with some international oil companies operating in the country led to the strike.

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NUPENG had decided to embark on the strike after giving the government a 21-day ultimatum to intervene and resolve the issues.

Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) was also involved in the strike after it has issued a two-week ultimatum to the government to resolve the issues.

However, once the strike began, the government swept into action and following a five-hour meeting with the federal government’s delegation led by the minister of labour and employment, Dr Chris Ngige, and some representatives of multinational oil companies in Abuja, both bodies called off the strike.

According to Punch, Mr Igwe Achese, the president of NUPENG said: “All issues have been addressed one after the other. We are very satisfied with the commitment shown.”

Before the meeting with the federal government, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, the NUPENG chairman, south-west zone, had told the press:

“All loading activities have been halted; so there is no fuel coming out of any depot. There is total compliance (with the directive to embark on a strike) by our members.”

One of the major problems that led to the strike was that oil companies were sacking workers in the last few months.

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The Warri zonal chairman of NUPENG, Mr Cogent Ojobo, said: “The union had said the strike would last for three days and involve around 10,000 workers. If the issues at stake are resolved and a communiqué signed, the strike will be called off.”

The short-lived strike had led to at long queues in most of the filling stations, as black marketers quickly took over the selling of fuel at exorbitant prices.

Meanwhile, in order to ensure sustainable peace and industrial harmony in the nation’s tertiary institutions, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a 14-member federal government team to renegotiate the 2009 agreement with unions in federal tertiary institutions in the country.

Watch a video about an earlier NUPENG strike: