Nigerian oil workers suspend five-day strike over pension scheme

September 22, 2014 | Government & Regulations, Nigeria

Abuja, Nigeria | – The main oil industry workers unions in Nigeria, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), have called off their five-day long strike action.

The decision to call off the action was arrived at the end of a five-hour meeting with the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, who promised to address their grievances.

Following days of hardship by consumers nationwide as a result of scarcity of petroleum products, a situation triggered by the industrial action, President Goodluck Jonathan waded in by directing the Minister to immediately dialogue with the aggrieved workers to resolve the crisis.

The unions had protested the decision by the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) ordering the withdrawal of the temporary license granted the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to run a defined benefit pension scheme.

PENCOM had alleged that the NNPC lacked the capacity to run such a scheme in view of its inability to bridge the funding gap of the scheme, which climbed to about N85 billion between 2010 and 2014.

The union had also demanded that government took the issue of turn around maintenance (TAM) of the country’s four refineries seriously to boost the capacity for local refining of petroleum products, while increasing the allocation of crude oil for local refining to help reduce the growing reliance on importation of petroleum products for domestic fuel consumption.

At the end of the marathon meeting on Friday, the Union leaders said they resolved to call off the strike after the minister informed them that PENCOM had agreed to rescind its decision.