Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, has called on the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) to call off its industrial action in the interest of the nation.
According to Samuel Olowookere, director of press in the ministry of labour, Ngige said this in Abuja on Friday.
Olowookere said the minister told the oil workers that downing tools will only compound the worsen the situation which activities of Niger Delta militants have brought upon the country.
“Strike neither solves industrial disputes nor contributes to industrial growth. Our economy is already reeling from severe hemorrhage occasioned by decade long mismanagement,” Olowookere quoted Ngige as saying in a statement.
“Further action, which stunts the efforts currently being made to reverse the trend, should therefore be shunned.
“A situation where oil workers leave their offices and oil loading base will not make for an increase in oils export nor assist make available, enough petroleum products in this time of deregulation. This will only compound the vandalisation in the Niger Delta, occasioning low output and export in our OPEC quota, apart from the unwarranted hardship on the populace.
“The time therefore calls for more patriotism more so when negotiations have already been kick started with PENGASSAN and International Oil Companies (IOCs) on most of the areas especially the issue of cash calls and arbitrary sack of personnel.
“The federal government therefore urges PENGASSAN to urgently call off the strike so that all sides will freely negotiate. I am very optimistic that when we sit for negotiation on Monday, July 11, issues that have led to the situation on the ground will be resolved in the greater interest of the nation.”
The statement urged Nigerians to avoid panic buying of petroleum products.