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Nigerian Oil Workers Return To Work After Strike Is Suspended

Port Harcourt Refinery

The Nigerian trade union, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), has suspended its strike. About 10,000 members of the Union, which includes refinery workers and office staff, went on strike Thursday. At issue were pay and sector reforms. An agreement to suspend the strike was reached early Wednesday.

There had been fears that the strike could lead to fuel shortages and disruption in production. The strike lasted six days, and the meeting to reach an agreement to suspend it took two days.

At the end of the meeting, the Ministry of Labour and Employment issued a statement that said only one government agency had been affected by the “non-implementation of 2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement.” The National Salaries Incomes and Waged Commission and Budget and National Planning Ministry will make the necessary corrections, which will be retroactive to 1 March of last year.

Other issues discussed during the negotiations included: “the planned restructuring of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency; Department of Petroleum Resources; Nigeria Content Development Management Board; Petroleum Training Institute; and Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Agency; Petroleum Equalisation Fund; and Petroleum Technology Development Fund.”

Labour Minister Dr. Chris Ngige directed oil companies who had laid off workers “without due process” to return to “status quo Ante Bellum,” or the conditions prior to the strike.

A statement from the meeting read: “Most of the IOCs and Indigenous Oil Companies that have laid-off workers without passing through the due process of the law all agreed to comply and in such cases where the workers had gone on strike or locked out by employers, the meeting directed them to unlock such premises while the actions of employers have also been put on hold to make for a free and unfettered atmosphere during the negotiations.”

The union called on its members to return to work at the conclusion of the meeting.

Lincoln Brown for Oilprice.com

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