As the New Year dawns, Nigerians will be greeted with to another strike action, this time, by oil workers.
The two trade unions in the oil and gas sector of the economy were protesting the declaration by the Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Madueke and the decision by the Federal Government to sell the refineries by the first quarter of next year.
Leading a joint protest by both NUPENG and PENGASSAN workers, held at the headquarters of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Tuesday morning, PENGASSAN President, Babatunde Ogun said all the oil workers would embark on a total strike by the first week of January if the Petroleum minister failed to retract her statement before December 24, 2013 and the Federal Government also failed to stop the on-going process on the sales of the refineries.
He stated that the unions would give Nigerians the opportunity to celebrate the Christmas festival and the New Year from December 24 to December 31, but warned that if the government failed to rescind its planned sales of the refineries, the unions would mobilise and commence the strike immediately in the New Year.
The PENGASSAN President, who was flanked by the national officers of both the NUPENG and PENGASSAN, told the placards carrying workers, that “between now and 24th of December, we expect retraction from the minister over the statement that the refineries will be sold”.
He added that between 24 December, and December 31, “we will go on holiday and expect Nigerians to celeberate Christmas and New Year.”
“From the first week of January, if they go ahead with the process, the strike will commence,” Comrade Ogun told the protesters.
He said the decision had already been taken in respect of the strike and emphasised that there would be no need for further discussion or engagement with the government because all what the government had been doing were clearly against their resolutions and decisions taken after their previous meetings, especially on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
He called for completion of work on the PIB and its implementation, saying that its implementation would address the myriads of problems in the oil and gas sector.