April 16, 2024

PENGASSAN vows strike action over unpaid salaries, CBA in Belemaoil

 Comrade Ese Okusi

Ilenre Irele

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has indicated its plan to go on a nationwide strike over alleged unpaid salaries and the lack of Collective Bargain Agreement, CBA, by indigenous oil firm, BelemaOil Producing Limited.
To this end, members of PENGASSAN have begun picketing of BelemaOil Producing Limited in Port Harcourt,in protest against alleged unpaid salaries, maltreatment of workers and non-provision of condition of service for oil workers by the management of Belemaoil for over eight years.

Leader of the protest and national auditor of PENGASSAN, Comrade Ese Okusi, said all efforts to have the company engage in discussion with the union to address the concerns of the workers have been abortive.
Okusi warned the management of Belemaoil to, as a matter of urgency, address the concerns of the workers to avoid ‘a mother-of-all protests’ by PENGASSAN across the nation, saying that the pìcketing was imperative in order to draw the attention of the company’s management to “the dehumanisation and withholding of workers’ salary.”
He said: “We are here in solidarity with the plight of our members in BelamaOil Producing Limited. The management of the company has been reneging in reaching the necessary agreement they are supposed to reach.
“Since the unionization of this branch and bringing BelemaOil to the table, CBA negotiation has been on and on, when they come, they renege on agreements that have been reached, even to the extent of paying them salary now has become an issue, they are reneging to pay our members the little token they are supposed to pay them in this branch.
“That is why the national body of PENGASSAN took it up through the Port Harcourt zone of our union that this place should be picketed today. The position of PENGASSAN is that BelemaOil must come to the table and we are not going to leave this place until we get everything that our members are supposed to get.

*Protesting members of PENGASSAN at Belemaoil Producing Limited head-office in Port Harcourt
“If nothing is done urgently, members of PENGASSAN from other branches will come down here to enforce it and even take it to the locations.
“So, the earlier the management come out to put pen on paper and release funds for those agreements we have reached, the better for the company.”

Also, the Chairman of PENGASSAN, BelemaOil branch, Mr Dan Opusingi, alleged the workers since the inception of work in 2016, have been working like slaves without working conditions and denial of their rights, warning that they would continue to occupy the company until their demands were met.
“Today we are here because we have been maltreated since we started working from 2016 till now, we don’t have CBA, a working document that has to do with conditions of service.

“We have engaged our management severally but no result, we are just working like slaves. There is somebody in this system who has been enslaving everybody, he is an Israeli, Amit Levi by name, and we are demanding that he must go, or else we will not allow the operation of the company,” he stated.

Opusingi added: “Right now, we have already shut down, if they refuse to allow him to go, that means they are not ready to go back to operation. We know that a few of our locations have been down, and we have been working with the Zonal executive council to make sure that we go back to operation but till now, we haven’t heard from the management.
“We want to tell the world that if BelemaOil is ready, let them go back to operation, Idama and Omokiri should go back to production. But our CBA should be signed. They should pay us our 13 months’ salaries, they should pay us our COVID-19 allowances, among others.”For eight years now that we have been working, our four years pension and three years for some persons have not been remitted, casualisation has been taking place and nothing is happening.

Our members and workers have been in the field for over 50 days without treatment, no light, no water and if you talk or complain about our welfare, you are sacked. It’s like they are in the prison.”

Meanwhile, the management of Belemaoil was yet to react to the allegations and the continued picketing of the company’s corporate headoffice in Port Harcourt by members of PENGASSAN.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *