Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has threatened to shut down the operations of an indigenous oil and gas firm, Brittania U over its anti-labour practice.
The acting Chairman, Lagos State Zone, PENGASSAN, Comrade Eyam Abeng, who led union members to picket the company as early as 6 am yesterday in Lagos, said the company is known to be one of the companies that exhibits the most notorious anti-labour laws in the industry.
Abeng said that the union would stop at nothing to ensure that the company adheres to international labour law practices.
He said: “We are here to picket Brittania U because of the anti-labour practice over the years. This is a company that exhibits the most notorious anti-labour laws in the industry, it is a company that frustrates and terminates Nigerians. It is a company that has refused to sit down with the union on a collective bargain agreement. This is a company whose workplace is unsafe and we are saying no to these anti-labour practices.
“The union is ready to engage the management of Brittania U. We fought so hard to allow indigenous companies to participate in the E&P business of the oil and gas sector. We will continue to press on the management of Brittania U to engage the union and if after these three days of picketing and they refuse to engage the union, we will adopt other proactive measures by ensuring that all activities with other oil companies are blocked. We will escalate this matter to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR),”
The National Treasurer, PENGASSAN, Victor Ononokpono, also said the picketing exercise is a sad experience because the protest is against a Nigerian company not adhering to international labour laws, saying that if there were to be such act of gross misconduct, it should not be coming from an indigenous company.
“We are going to be here for as long as these issues remain unresolved. What is wrong is wrong. What the management of this company is telling the Nigerian government is that we should do our worse. We have been on this matter since 2017. Collective bargain agreements and of course the right of association, all are irrevocable labour protocols. In this time and age, companies are still ferrying crew members by speed boats,” he said.
He added that: “I want to use this opportunity to tell Nigerians that PENGASSAN is not known to be frivolous. We are here because we have exhausted all known means of resolving these issues amicably and if by Friday nothing happens, please take our words back as we are going to shut the entire nation because we are going to mobilise all our companies and affiliates. It is a coincidence at a time when we are having a shortage of supply of PMS, however, if we get our answers to the questions we have raised today, we will leave this place,”