Oil prices have climbed more than 1 per cent on Thursday due to a strike threat in Nigeria by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and as traders cover shorts after sharp losses the previous day brought on by an unexpectedly large rise in US stocks of refined fuels.
Short covering in the market, together with the threat of a strike by Nigeria's key oil union, has provided some support to oil prices in today's session.
PENGASSAN threatened to launch a nationwide strike from Dec. 18 which would culminate in the shutting down of all oil and gas installations, including disruptions to fuel supply and distribution, across the country.
The Union in a statement said this was as a result of the unfair labour practices and seemly untamable posture of some indigenous oil and gas companies and marginal field operators by relevant agencies of government.
The Association recalls the communique issued at the end of the National Executive Council meeting of October 13, 2017 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
One of the resolutions was the condemnation of Indigenous Oil and Gas Companies and Marginal Field Operators, concerning their anti labour posture and practices, including the termination of the employment of any worker who has indicated willingness to belong to the union.
The association said those who are threatened and compelled to disown the union are then treated as slave workers within their own country.
It cited the case of Neconde Energy Limited of Nestoil Group of companies.
It said is particularly worrisome as the issue of dignity in labour and infringement on workers’ rights to freedom of Association is foreign to them leading to mass sack of workers that joined the Union and dehumanization of same in total disregard to rule of engagement and the laws of the land.
The actions of companies such as Neconde in mass sack of Nigerian workers contribute in no small measure to the unending militancy in the Niger Delta, PENGASSAN said.
It added: “This company has not only conducted itself as being above the provisions of extant laws and regulations guiding the operations of oil and gas companies in Nigeria, but has also severally boasted that no government agency can call it to order.
It was therefore no surprise that Neconde has defied multiple interventions from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the top Management of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) for the company to toe the path of law and order and comply with Nigerian labour laws.
“The company is apparently bolstered by the fact that it has continued, without any sanctions from government regulatory authorities, to flagrantly breach the provisions of the Personal Income Tax Amendment Act (PITA) and Pension Reform Act (PRA) by not remitting deducted income taxes and pension contributions to the Lagos and Delta states’ boards of internal revenue and authorized Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) respectively. The owners and management of Neconde have therefore made themselves to believe that they are above the laws and government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Having explored all options without getting the necessary understanding, and an apparent failure of relevant authorities of Government to call to order these recalcitrant organizations especially Neconde, PENGASSAN gives the Federal Government and its relevant Agencies seven (7) days’ notice to embark on nationwide strike effective December 18, 2017 if she fails to direct the Management of Neconde and other companies to recall our sacked members as the only option to address this injustice and lawlessness"
“PENGASSAN appeals to all Nigerians to show understanding and to use this window to stockpile adequate quantity of premium motor spirit (PMS) and other petroleum products that will last them during the upcoming festive period as this strike will be indefinite.”
M&P, Agency Report