The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has threatened to direct members to stop the supply of petroleum products across the country if the federal government fails to implement the agreement reached with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Though the date for the commencement of the strike is yet to be fixed, but the union said the proposed solidarity strike became necessary in view of the lingering industrial crisis which the government has failed to resolve in the last three months.
NUPENG President, Igwe Achese, who made this known at the union’s National Administrative Council (NAC) meeting held at the weekend in Lagos, said the union was not happy at the current state of education in the country.
He blamed the lingering crisis on government’s failure to honour agreements, adding that this has led to the proliferation of strikes in nearly all sectors of the economy since the beginning of the year.
“We appeal to government to implement agreements reached with ASUU so that students can go back to school. If the crisis in the sector is not resolved, we will soon direct our members to embark on solidarity strike,” Achese said.
Speaking further, he blamed the ministry of labour for failing in its responsibility to check the breakdown and abuse of laws governing industrial relations practice in the country.
“The ministry of labour needs to be proactive if we must get these issues nipped in the bud. The ministry also needs to make sure that agreements being reached or the communiqué signed are implemented.
“The ministry has a big role to play to avert the strikes in the country. When unions begin to lose faith in the ministry that is when we have this kind of crisis. The labour minister should be firm in making sure that the right decisions are taken.
“As it is now, every activity in the ministry of labour is in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), which ought not to be so. The role of the SFG should be to intervene only when the need arises,” he added.
Recall that the NUT last week gave the federal government two weeks’ ultimatum to honour the agreement they had with ASUU or face total shutdown of the education sector in the country.
The Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu, at the meeting with the leadership of the union, said the federal government had already implemented 80 per cent of the 2009 agreement they had with ASUU.
Information from This Day was used in this report.