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PENGASSAN pickets BelemaOil over unpaid 3 months salaries, poor workers’ welfare

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Emmanuel Nlewedum, Port Harcourt


The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, in solidarity with it’s members, on Tuesday gathered outside the premises of BelemaOil Producing Limited to protest the alleged maltreatment of workers.


The picketing action at the gates of the headquarters of BelemaOil Company in Port Harcourt was aimed at drawing attention to the company’s alleged dehumanisation and withholding of workers salary for 3 months.


Addressing newsmen during the demonstration, National Auditor 2 of PENGASSAN, Comrade Ese Okusi, said that the company has been engaged in discussion with the union to address the concerns of the workers but they are reneging in reaching concrete agreement with them.


Okusi said the BelemaOil engaged the workers without conditions of services attached and with no concern for their welfare.


He advised the management of the company to as a matter of urgency addressed the concerns of the workers to avoid a mother of all protest by PENGASSAN across the nation.


“We are here in solidarity, to see to the plight of our members in BelamaOil Producing Limited. The management of the company has been reneging in reaching agreement necessary agreement they are supposed to reach.


“Since the unionisation of this branch, and bringing BelemaOil to the table, CBA negotiation has been on and on, when they come, they renege on agreement that have been reached, even to the extent of paying them salary now has become an issue, they are reneging to pay our members the little token they are supposed to pay them in this branch.


“That is why the national body of PENGASSAN took it up through Port Harcourt zone of our union that this place should be picketed today.


“The position of PENGASSAN is that BelemaOil must come to the table and we are not going to leave this place until we get everything that our members are supposed to get.


“Let me also sound it to the company that if nothing is done urgently, members of PENGASSAN from other branches will come down here to enforce it and even take it to the locations.


“So, the earlier the management come out to put pen on paper and release funds for those agreements we have reached, the better for the company.”


Chairman, PENGASSAN BelamaOil branch, Chief Dan Opusingi said the workers since inception of work in 2016, they have been working like slaves without working conditions and denial of their rights.


He said, “Today we are here because we have been maltreated since we started working from 2016 till now, we don’t have CBA, a working document that has to do with conditions of service.


“We have engaged our management severally but no result, we are just working like slaves. There is somebody in this system who has been enslaving everybody, he is an Israeli, Amit Levi by name, and we are demanding that he must go, else we will not allow operation of the company. Right now, we have already shut down, if they refuse to allow him go, that means they are not ready to go back to operation.


“We know that few of our locations have been down, and we have been working with the Zonal executive council to make sure that we go back to operation but till now, we haven’t heard from the management.


“So, we want to tell the world that, if BelemaOil is ready, let them go back to operation, Idama and Omokiri should go back to production. But our CBA should be signed. They should pay us our 3 months salaries, they should pay us our COVID-19 allowances, among others.


“For 8 years now that we have been working, our 4 years pension and 3 years for some persons, have not been remitted, casualization have been taking place and nothing is happening. Our members and workers have been in the field for over 50 days without treatment, no light, no water and if you talk or complain about our welfare, you are sacked. Its like they are in the prison.”


He however declared that they would continue to occupy the premises until their demands are met.


“Today, we are saying that since they are not ready to do the needful, we are going to continue with our picketing until they do the needful.”


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