Olabode Johnson, PENGASSAN president.
By Edith Ike-Eboh
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has urged the Federal, state governments and organised private sector to resolve the differences in the ongoing negotiation for a new minimum wage in the country.
The National President of the Union, Mr Olabode Johnson made the appeal while addressing newsmen on its planned 40thanniversary, in Abuja, on Tuesday.
He described as ungodly, the shenanigans displayed by some state governors when it comes to payment of workers’ salaries.
“ We need to give priority to the issue of minimum wage now before the political campaigns start in full by next month, all parties need to agree on a particular amount on this issue.
According to him, PENGASSAN believes that the Federal and state governments have the capacity to resolve the minimum wage issue before campaigns start so that it can be legislated upon, passed and eventually becomes law.
“PENGASSAN, as an affiliate of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, we are also bound to look at the dictates of the agreement.
“ When you look at the issue of the new minimum wage, you will agree that it is long overdue. You must be able to give Nigerians a minimum wage. Look at the current hardship, look at depreciation; look at what everybody is facing.
“I also want to appeal to the Federal and state governments, Nigeria Employers Consultative Assembly, (NECA), and other stakeholders, that a stitch in time saves nine.
“ Whatever everybody is supposed to do, because, by the end of November, politics will start; so now is the time to do everything we have to do in that regard,’’ he said
He added that Nigerians should also see the disagreement on this issue that the leaders know what they are doing, saying “ for every state that has political appointees, I have never seen that they are being owed salaries.
“ The issue of minimum wage we want to appeal to the government to give it a priority. Let this bickering of N24,000, N25,000 and N30,000 be sorted out so that you don’t create an impression with Nigerians that you are insensitive to their plights. Let us pay everybody his or her due.” he said
On the planned 40th anniversary scheduled to hold, October 18, he said that President Muhammadu Buhari, would be the special guest of honour.
Others expected at the event are the businessman, Aliko Dangote, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, state governors, chief executive officers of international oil companies and security experts.
Johnson noted that past labour leaders who fought for the actualisation of June 12 would also be recognized at the anniversary.
He added that the union with the anniversary would expand its scope in ensuring job creation through the world-class event centre that it would launch.
He said that qualified Nigerians would be employed to run and manage the operation of the centre professionally.
He said that the conference would focus on ‘Labour, fuelling the economy.’(NAN)