There is no record of any trade union in the modern sense before 1914, except for the Nigerian Civil Service Union. However, after 1914, a combination of factors – the rising cost of living, the influx of men into paid employment, and the inadequacy of wages to keep pace with the rise in prices, made collective action by workers inevitable. Efforts were made by the Nigerian miners to form a trade union in 1931 and by the railway workers in 1932. The development of trade unionism took a more dynamic form immediately after the war when unions in the country rapidly rose to over 800. This created problems in the management of labour relations because most of these unions were company unions and not industrial unions.
In 1976, the government appointed an Administrator of Trade Unions to inquire into the activities of the unions and come up with a structure for a proper administration and management. At the end of the exercise, the administrator streamlined Unions along industrial lines. The government also charged the administrator with the duty of the formation of a single and new central labour organization so the Nigerian Labour Congress was inaugurated by the consensus of the union of workers on 28 February 1978. On August 15 1978, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) was formally registered alongside twenty three other Senior Staff Association. Furthermore, the Labour Act of 2004, paved the way for multiple Labour Centers and today, we have the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
At inception, Comrade (Rev.) O. Oshewa of blessed memory became the first President of the Association while Comrade O. Oyo was the first General secretary. Between 1978 and 2019, PENGASSAN has had fifteen (15) Presidents and seven (7) General Secretaries. The current President of the Association is Comrade Ndukaku Michael Ohaeri while the General Secretary is Comrade Lumumba Ighotemu Okugbawa.
It is a well known fact that the Trade Union is the revolutionary forerunner of the people hence the role of our past leaders in the struggle after the annulment of June 12 1993 elections in Nigeria. It was a celebrated struggle that led to the end of the Military rule in Nigeria and up till date, the Association is still focused on the protection of our democracy. In addition to the promotion of labour, PENGASSAN supports and recommends policies that will enhance greater socio-economic benefits and welfare opportunities for every Nigerian. The registered office is 288 Ikorodu Road, Anthony Lagos.