The National Executive Council of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have called off their strike action. Members laid down their tools last week over unresolved issues in the oil and gas sector.
A key reason for the suspension of the strike was an agreement by government and international oil companies to recall some 2,000 workers retrenched in the sector. All oil workers across the country were supposed to report to post on Wednesday.
President of PENGASSAN, Francis Johnson, whiles speaking to journalists in the capital Abuja, noted that beyond the agreement to recall sacked workers, parties in the issue had agreed that no worker who participated in the strike would be victimized.
As part of the peace deal, the Federal government had also agreed to settle an estimated amount of $4.8 million arrears of a joint venture arrangement, a debt the current government inherited from the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
According to PENGASSAN president, the $4.8 billion will “help the international oil companies to stem the tide of redundancies being declared in the industry and help address job losses of oil workers that would otherwise be put into the unemployment market,” Vanguard online portal reported.
Before the suspension of the strike, Nigeria’s Labour and Employment Minister, Senator Chris Ngige, is reported to have had embarked on a marathon meeting with the association and management of major oil producing companies which lasted to about 3am on Wednesday.
The state-owned Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over the weekend warned against panic buying of fuel in the face of the strike action. The NNPC assured the public that it had enough fuel in its reserves and that there was no cause for alarm.