On Monday, 18th December, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), one of Nigeria’s largest oil unions, began a nationwide strike over the laying off of its workers.

Lumumba Okugbawa said the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), whose members mainly work in the upstream oil industry, began the industrial action after talks with government agencies ended in deadlock. According to him, “PENGASSAN is on industrial action as a result of unfair labour practices by some companies, particularly indigenous oil and gas companies”.

Nigeria, being Africa’s largest crude exporter and whose oil sales make up two-thirds of government revenue, this development is most likely to affect adversely, the country’s crude oil production and dent exports, as was the case in December 2016,when there was an industrial action by the union against Exxon Mobil.

Nigeria’s crude production has fluctuated over the last two years due to several factors such as militant attacks, pipeline theft and industrial action. The current disagreement began after members of the union were laid off by domestic oil and gas companies and marginal field (discoveries made by oil majors during exploration of larger acreage but which have been left for others to develop) operators.

Among those taking part in the strike are office workers and staff working in distribution, as stated by the union leader but he did not revealed the estimated number of workers involved.

Long queues were seen in various parts of the country including the commercial capital Lagos, in the southwest, the northeastern city of Maiduguri and the city of Jos, situated in the middle of the country.