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Why we picketed General Electric (GE) – Pengassan

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) on Wednesday picketed the United States firm, General Electric over non-payment of salaries to some workers of ARCO Group – its servicing company.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that PENGASSAN blocked the entrance to General Electric office on Victoria Island, Lagos, from 6a.m.

Mr Abel Agarin, the PENGASSAN Lagos Zonal Chairman, who led the protesters, said that General Electric failed to properly settle the workers in 2016.

Agarin said that PENGASSAN decided to picket the company because it failed to honour an agreement it reached with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, on the payment of the workers.
The zonal chairman said that other efforts to make the electricity company to address the issue failed.

“ARCO Group Ltd. is our member and a servicing company to General Electric.

“The job was carried out from 2006 in Niger Delta. It is global gas maintenance in OBOB/Kwale/CHA,’’ he said.
“The electricity company owed about 50 workers for about one year and later paid some months.

“The remaining five months’ salaries are what we are demanding,’’ Agarin explained.
He said that General Electric met with Ngige and agreed to pay the money in February, 2017, after ARCO would have demobilised the workers and provided certain information.

“ARCO demobilised and provided procurement invoice that got matured in 30 days.

“All the necessary information have been provided but, till date, General Electric failed to respond to calls or appeals by ARCO management to pay the workers,’’ he said.

He said that PENGASSAN would continue with the protest until the payment of the salaries.

The labour leader said that it was regrettable that companies disobeyed Nigerian laws and directives.

The management of the electricity company did not come out to address the protesters but Mr Aboyomi Oyewumi, who developed the property where General Electric rented for its office, appealed to the union to be peaceful.

He promised to get in touch with the management and ensure it would resolve the issue to forestall further disruption of business activities.

The protesters carried placard with inscriptions such as: “Work without pay is a crime’’, “Our wage is our right,’’ “GE respect contractual agreement,’’ and “GE return our dignity of labour’’.

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About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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