Why We Called Off Strike Action- ULC, PENGASSEN Begs FG to Pay Debt

The United Labour Congress (ULC), Wednesday, called off its five day old strike after an appeal from the government and the State Security Service.
National President of the United Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, said the union agreed to call off the strike because the Federal Government impressed it on the union of the sensitive nature of the sector. .
Members of the factional labour union had called out its members on strike on Friday last week over their demands.
The demands include a review the privatisation of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria and that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment should set up a task force immediately to inspect factories across the country.
The union is also demanding government recognition and a ‘Registration Certificate’; and the withdrawal of soldiers and police officers from the work places of the union’s members, saying the members were being intimidated and harassed.
Ajero said: “My meeting with the DSS yesterday was a very friendly meeting.
“They know the unions that are taking actions and they know the implications to the economy and to the people of Nigeria and I also think they must have sent their security reports.
“Even the resident doctors have not told us who registered them, let alone over 12 registered industrial unions who have indicated interest, met all the conditions.
“And the law permits you to do that within three months and you have not done it,” Ajaero said.
“We have told you two or three conditions; like the issue of putting us in the committee for the negotiation of minimum wage was quickly addressed even before the strike.
“And like we mentioned to you, the issue of ASUU has naturally been taken care of. There are four or five conditions that are still pending which we intend to go into by next week.
“There are some sectors whose effects should have started coming in by next tomorrow. Sectors like aviation and as at yesterday, that of railway cut off,” he said.
Labour Minister, Ngige said negotiations were ongoing to address areas that have not been touched.
He said some of the demands of the ULC had been resolved before negotiation began.
“Issue of salaries shortfall has been addressed, ASUU has called off and we are left with a few issues to resolve,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSEN) on Wednesday appealed to Federal Government over continued indebtedness of oil marketers, saying it could trigger retrenchment of staff in the sector. The Public Relations Officer of PENGASSAN, Mr Fortune Obi, made the appeal in an interview with newsmen in Abuja. Obi, who reiterated the importance of rescuing oil marketers from financial crisis, added that many marketers found it difficult to cope in business “due to backlog of debts owed them during the subsidy regime.
“Many marketers borrowed money to import fuel, hoping to be paid afterwards but up till date, they have not received their money from government.
“It is time to take oil marketers out of recession and financial crisis by duly paying them all the debts.”
Obi, however, said that payment of the debt would not only enhance fuel supply in the country but restore efficiency in the oil sector.
The marketers, comprising Major Oil Marketers (MOMAN), Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN), and Depot Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) could no longer import fuel due to their inability to service loans, he said. Independent Petroleum Products Importers (IPPIs) said one billion dollars outstanding debt was money borrowed from banks to fund importation during the subsidy regime, with interest of N160 bn.

Author: News Editor

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