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IPPIS: Fuel scarcity looms as energy workers commence strike

The indefinite strike is expected to paralyse oil and gas facilities, and disrupt distribution of petroleum products across the country.

• November 9, 2020
Fuel queue used to illustrate the story
Fuel queue [Photo credit: The Guardian]

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has commenced an indefinite strike over disputed irregularities in the Federal Government-imposed centralised payroll system, IPPIS.

The association also hinged the mass action on the retrenchment of its workers by multinational oil corporation Baker Hughes, which laid off at least 64 workers in flagrant breach of an agreement with the union.

Having reached an impasse with government authorities upon expiration of its 7-day ultimatum, PENGASSAN general secretary Lumumba Okugbawa, in a letter issued late Sunday directed its nationwide formations to withdraw their services, effective from midnight November 8.

The letter titled ‘RE: Breach in agreement on IPPIS implementation and redundancy in Baker Hughes’ read: “We refer to the above letter dated November 2nd, 2020 where we gave 7-Days ultimatum and further extension to the relevant government agencies and institutions. Regrettably and upon expiration of the ultimatum, nothing concrete has been done with regards to the outstanding issues as enumerated in the letter.”

“In view of the above and with expiration of the ultimatum and subsequent extension, you are hereby advised to withdraw your services effective 12 midnight on Sunday November 8th 2020”, the letter seen by Peoples Gazette said.

The indefinite strike is expected to paralyse oil and gas facilities, and disrupt distribution of petroleum products across the country.

The association had frowned at the impromptu sacking of its members by Baker Hughes, despite entreaties made to the servicing company domiciled in Lagos and Port Harcourt.

The union, which comprises both upper and mid-level employees in the petroleum and gas industry had also condemned the huge deduction in the salaries of its members — supposedly engineered by the IPPIS.

“We are concerned with the ways our members in some government agencies are being treated with respect to IPPIS”, PENGASSAN National Industrial Officer Kelechi Ugwulor told the News Agency of Nigeria.

“In the month of September, our members in NNRA had huge sums of money deducted from their salaries, and we have decided that enough is enough”, Mr. Ugwulor added.

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