Members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) in the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and some of its agencies on Wednesday began a three-day warning strike that could disrupt petrol supply across the country.
It was gathered that the senior workers downed tools at the Abuja headquarters of the FMPR in protest against the non-payment of their salaries for the past three months.
It was also learnt that the strike was embarked upon by PENGASSAN to kick against the Federal Government’s inclusion of its members in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
It was reported on June 22 that Nigeria could face petrol scarcity if oil workers made good the threat of withdrawing their services nationwide should the Federal Government insist on registering employees in the oil sector on IPPIS.
PENGASSAN and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers had made the threat in a letter addressed to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.
Following the seeming silence of government over the matter, PENGASSAN’s National Public Relations Officer, who doubles as the Rivers State Secretary of the Trade Union Congress, Fortune Obi, told our correspondent on Wednesday that the industrial action had commenced.
The striking senior staff, who staged a protest in Abuja, displayed various placards with inscriptions such as “IPPIS is a pandemic worse than COVID-19; the President should act fast,” “IPPIS office respect your agreement and come for negotiations,” among others.
Obi said, “PENGASSAN members working for government agencies under the supervision of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources are embarking on a three-day warning strike.
“The strike is for the lack of payment for the past three months, plus due to the inclusion of workers in the IPPIS. The strike started (Wednesday) this morning.”
He further outlined the agencies where members of PENGASAN had downed tools to include the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Petroleum Training Institute, and Department of Petroleum Resources.
Officials of the FMPR said they were aware of the protest and the three-day warning strike but declined to comment on what the ministry was doing to address the situation.
The spokesperson of the ministry, Eneffaa Bob-Manuel, said she was relatively new at the FMPR and knew little about the matter.
The Special Adviser on Media to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Garba-Deen Mohammed, said he could not speak on the matter when contacted.
He promised to revert to our correspondent but had yet to up till the time of filing this report.
PENGASSAN and NUPENG had kicked against plans by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to register oil workers on the IPPIS platform.