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NUPENG, NNPC meeting to avert strike, fuel scarcity

Representatives of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company and leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers are presently meeting in Abuja to avert industrial action as a result of the seven-day ultimatum issued to the Federal Government on Wednesday by NUPENG.

NUPENG had asked the FG to compel Chevron Nigeria Limited to honour the agreement it reached with the union on June 20, 2019, saying its members would embark on strike if the agreement was not respected in seven days.

President of the Union, Williams Akporeha, told our correspondent in Abuja on Thursday that NNPC had intervened and a meeting had been scheduled.

He said, “Because of the ultimatum we issued yesterday (Wednesday), NNPC has stepped in as a mediator in the issues we raised. A meeting was scheduled and we are at the meeting venue and discussion is on now. Further directives will be issued after the meeting.”

A statement signed by Akporeha and General Secretary of NUPENG, Afolabi Olawale, on the ultimatum said, “NUPENG, with deep frustration and worries, would like to alert the general public and all relevant authorities of the blatant violation of agreement reached between Chevron Nigeria Limited and unions in the industry.

“It is public knowledge that unions in the oil and gas industry had a protracted negotiation with Chevron Nigeria Limited over 70 per cent labour manpower reduction which it (Chevron) claimed was required in view of reduction in their operations in the oil and gas Industry.

“After up to one year negotiation, brokered by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC; National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NAPIMS, and Ministry of Labour, it was agreed that considering the intervention of all the institutions mentioned above and the various justifications made, only 30 per cent of the labour manpower contract workers will be relieved.

‘’Of the 1,856 contract workers in the company, NUPENG has 1,120; PENGASSAN, 213;  and non-unionised, 523.  It was agreed that the 30 per cent reduction shall be spread in equal percentage among the three groups. “It was also agreed that union executives (NUPENG and PENGASSAN) will not be affected by the reduction, that Chevron Nigeria Limited will not in any guise change the labour manpower to service contracts.

“Unfortunately, immediately after the agreement was reached, Chevron started executing the exercise in blatant violation of the agreed terms, ostensibly to either put NUPENG in bad light as troublesome or for extinction because only NUPENG members have been exited from work, leaving behind the Non- Unionised workers and PENGASSAN members.

“From our record, over 500 of NUPENG members are being sacked. Having been pushed to the wall, NUPENG, hereby, puts all our members on red alert should Chevron Nigeria Limited and its contractors fail to honour or comply with our demands within the next seven days, we would also not hesitate to take all necessary legal options available to us, including industrial actions, to press home our legitimate demands.”