Drivers Arm Of NUPENG Suspends Industrial Action

Drivers Arm Of NUPENG Suspends Industrial ActionThe Petroleum Tanker Drivers arm of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has suspended its ongoing strike.

The NUPENG President, Igwe Achese, made the announcement after an extensive meeting between the group and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Monday in Abuja.

At the meeting, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Maikanti Baru, announced that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has approved an increase of tanker drivers’ bridging allowance from 6.20 Naira to 7.20 Naira.

The tanker drivers had commenced an industrial action earlier on Monday to press home their demand for improved welfare.

Mr Achese, who announced over the weekend that members of the union would withdraw their services, raised concerns that Nigerians may experience another round of fuel supply crisis.

He noted that the grouse of the drivers are poor working conditions and welfare package among others.

The NUPENG President said the Federal Government has ignored several appeals by the union to help improve the welfare of the drivers.

NUPENG Gives F.G 21 Day Ultimatum To Halt Mass Sack Of Its Members

NUPENG, Rivers StateThe Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG), has given a 21-day ultimatum to the Federal Government, to stop the incessant mass sack of its members by oil companies in the country

This was stated by the President of the Union, Igwe Achese when reading out a communique issued by the Central Working Committee after a meeting held in Warri.

The meeting was aimed at discussing issues currently affecting the union and its members especially the mass sack/retrenchment, by the major oil servicing companies on account of the current recession.

After the meeting, the Union addressed journalists on some of the resolutions reached requesting the intervention of the Federal Government in resolving them.

Part of the resolutions in the communique reads that, “The anti-union
postures of the International Oil Companies must end.

“There should be a speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill.

“Agencies saddled with the responsibility of regulating the Oil and Gas Industry must be up and doing”.

The Union also frowned at the frequent vandalisation of pipelines in the Niger Delta.

It also rejected the proposed sale of the National Assets amongst other issues.

Sacked workers

About 3000 workers have been sacked by major oil companies and servicing companies who are closing shops on account of the current recession.

The Union has also given the Federal Government a 21 day ultimatum to halt the mass sack or face mass action from the Union.

Organized Private Sector Supports Deregulation

private sector, deregulationThe Director-General of the Lagos Chamber Of Commerce and Industry, Mr Muda Yusuf, has thrown his weight behind the liberalization of the petroleum downstream sector.

In a statement released on Thursday, Mr Yusuf, explained that the deregulation of the sector will reduce importation of petroleum products and ease the pressure on the foreign exchange market as well as foreign reserves.

In the meantime, the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture have also commended the federal government for finally taking the bold step to remove subsidy on petrol.

The President of the chamber, Bassey Edem, expressed optimism that this will put an end to the fuel scarcity being experienced in the country, while reducing the pressure on foreign reserve as a result of huge demand for petrol import.

 

Fuel Price Increase Is Unacceptable, Labour Insists

NLCThe Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has maintained its earlier stance that the recent hike in the pump price of petrol as announced by the federal government is unacceptable.

The General Secretary of the NLC, Mr Peter, Ozo-Ezon was the guest of Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday.

He referred to the announcement of a new petrol pump price band of 135 to 145 Naira as the “worst approach that any government has taken” in the history of the country.

“Other governments have attempted to remove subsidy and to say they are deregulating completely but in doing that, no government has said that importers should now invade the black market for foreign exchange and therefore the domestic pump price would now be determined on the basis of black market foreign exchange.

“That is a recipe for economic instability not just in the oil sector but in the whole economy,” he stated.

Mr Ezon feared that in the next few months, the policy would lead to the total collapse of the value of the Naira in the black market, which he says would lead to further increases.

“We think this is undesirable for the economy and we think that the government has not thought this policy through and we are opposed to it.”

Government Needs To Be Truthful

The NLC also said that it did not at any time discuss the increase in fuel price with the Minister of State for Petroleum, prior to the announcement of the new price band on Wednesday.

The Minister had said on the Thursday edition of the programme that all stakeholders had been consulted before the decision was made.

“What happened was that on Tuesday at about 4PM, we received a letter from the office of the Vice President, inviting the President of the NLC to what was termed a consultative meeting.

“No subject matter was indicated and the meeting was scheduled for 12noon on Wednesday.

“Because the President was out on official duty, I went to the congress. The TUC President was also there and the President of NUPENG was also there. Those were the three representatives from Labour.

“There were senators, there were members of the House, there were some governors and on the spot was when we knew what the matter was.

“It was to receive a presentation from the honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and he made a presentation in which he was canvassing for total deregulation, abolition of subsidy and all that.

“At the end of it, there were those who made comments, mainly those from the National Assembly; some cautioning, some advising and some asking other questions.

“The Vice President then specifically called on us one by one by name – the three of us, and what we told the Vice President was that we had just received that presentation and since we represented democratic institutions, we would take the presentation and discuss it at our organs and we will get back to government on our position.

“That was all that happened at the meeting. No decision was taken.

“So when the Minister was quoted to have said that we were part of a meeting that took that decision, then he was clearly not truthful about that and I think government needs to be truthful in putting facts before citizens,” Mr Ozo-Ezon said.

Welcome Development

Meanwhile, the National President of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Igwe Achese, says government’s decision is a “welcome development” for them as it is a move they have been yearning for.

Joining the conversation via the telephone, Mr Achese said, “For us as a union, NUPENG and PENGASSAN, it is a welcome development, it is an issue we have been yearning for.

“The sector should be deregulated and opened up for marketers to play the necessary role they need to play and government should be able to focus their attention on making sure that our refineries are rehabilitated and not paying subsidies to few individuals in the name of importation of petroleum products.”

On the insistence of the NLC on resisting the new price regime, Mr Achese said that Labour should be focusing its attention on the issue of minimum wage which is “very key and fundamental”.

NUPENG Leader Hopeful OF End To Petrol Scarcity In April

Petrol Scarcity in NigeriaThe national President of the National Union Of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Mr Igwe Achese, is hopeful that before the end of April, the petrol scarcity witnessed across Nigeria.

He said that the union had, at a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday advised the government to put in necessary policies that would adequately regulate the prices of petroleum products.

Mr Achese told Channels Television in a telephone interview on Friday that the stakeholders at the meeting agreed to work together in making sure that product distribution were not being hindered.

“I strongly believe that by the end of April scarcity will be off the street but the more important thing is the political will of stakeholders in the sector to see how to get scarcity off the street.

“With the passion the President spoke about the situation, I am strongly convinced that scarcity will soon end,” he stated.

Oil Workers Shut Down NNPC Operations Over Unbundling

nnpcOil workers have shut down the operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) nationwide until further notice following the unbundling of the corporation.

This decision was reached at a meeting of the Group Executive Councils of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), which held on on Tuesday, March 8.

After “extensively discussing the pronouncement”, they “observed that the GMD/HMSP totally disregarded due process and failed to engage stakeholders.

“Hence, from midnight today (Tuesday, March 8), all NNPC locations will be shut down completely until further notice. Further directives will be communicated accordingly”.

Speaking in a telephone interview with Channels Television, President of NUPENG, Mr Igwe Achese, said the unbundling process was not transparent.

The Federal Government had approved the creation of seven operational units in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu said that five of the seven operational units would be strictly business-driven in line with global best practices.

The new units include those for Upstream, Downstream, Gas and Power, Refineries, Ventures, Corporate Planning and Services, and Finance and Accounts.

He said each of the units would be headed by Chief Executive Officers; namely Bello Rabiu for Upstream; Henry Ikem-Onih for Downstream; Anibor Kragha (Refineries); Saudu Mohammed (Gas and Power), while Babatunde Adeniran takes charge of Ventures.

Labour Minister Meets Oil Companies, Workers Over Labour Issues

Oil companiesThe Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has advised oil companies to dialogue with their workers to prevent industrial actions and loss of jobs.

The Minister gave the advice at a meeting with oil and gas workers and their employers to resolve petitions from the workers unions on allegations ranging from indiscriminate dismissal of workers to job outsourcing.

This joint meeting followed separate meetings held with the workers, the oil companies and their contractors on the crisis.

Prior to this meeting, the Labour Minister said that he had held separate meetings with the oil companies and their employees over petitions of mistreatment.

According to him, some of the allegations against the oil companies include indiscriminate dismissal of Nigerian workers at the expense of the expatriates.

Some representatives of the oil companies said that the continued fall in the prices of oil is making them take hard decisions to sustain their operations.

“The current business environment of sustained low oil prices requires us to make tough and difficult decisions to sustain the business for a long term.

“Many of the projects we have underway are uneconomic, so our activity level is declining and we are having to make adjustments in the resourcing of our operations and our projects,” said the Managing Director of Chevron Nigeria, Mr Clay Neef.

In spite of the explanation, the workers insisted that the actions of the oil companies are not in harmony with what happens in other African countries.

The President of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Igwe Achese, made this assertion.

“The oil price drop did not only hit Nigeria alone. It is a global issue and Nigeria is not the only country producing oil in Africa.

“Angola had the same issue and other African countries, those countries are not experiencing the level of job loses that we are experiencing in Nigeria.,” he said.

Oil workers have threatened to go on strike if the issues raised in their petitions, including the alleged indiscriminate dismissal of workers, are not addressed.


NLC Reconciliation Move Suffers Setback

NLCEfforts to reconcile the two leadership factions of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) have suffered a setback as the faction led by Comrade Joe Ajaero accused Adams Oshiomole of playing a divisive role in the process of reconciling the two parties.

The reconciliation committee was led by Comrade Hassan Sumonu and other labour veterans to address the disagreements between the two factions of Comrades Ayuba Waba and Joe Ajaero after the eleventh delegate congress declared Mr Waba as new NLC President.

This reconciliation move however suffered some setbacks on Tuesday, April 21, as members blamed Governor Adams Oshiomole of alleged partisanship.

The election of a new national executive of the NLC ended in chaos in Abuja on February 12.

Aggrieved delegates were caught on camera smashing and emptying ballot boxes with ballot papers flying on the floor of the International Conference Centre.

The workers alleged that the ballot papers were designed to favour one of the candidates vying for the President of the union.

Over 3,000 delegates voted as the General Secretary of National Union of Electricity Employees, Joe Ajaero and the President of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Wabba Ayuba, presented themselves for election to replace Adbulwaheed Omar.

The President of NUPENG, Igwe Achese, had withdrawn from the race for Ajaero.

The NLC was formed by Nigerian workers in 1978 and has successfully conducted 10 delegates’ conferences.

NLC Holds Re-Scheduled Elections

nlcThe Nigeria Labour Congress have reconvened in Abuja to hold last month’s elections which ended in a deadlock following allegation of bias against officials of the election committee.

This time around, former officials of the union, who are now politicians, were on hand to supervise the rescheduled elections

As the time of this report, voting exercise was peaceful while members of the union who protested against the procedure in February were satisfied with the process.

The election of a new national executive of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in February, had ended in chaos in Abuja on February 12.

Aggrieved delegates were caught on Channels Television camera smashing and emptying ballot boxes with ballot papers flying on the floor of the International Conference Centre.

The workers alleged that the ballot papers were designed to favour one of the candidates vying for the President of the union.

Candidates in the failed elections of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) accused the union’s credentials committee of compromise and lack of diligence, which they said led to the irregularities that botched the elections.

The NLC leadership later re-scheduled the election for March 12 after meeting behind closed doors for about 10 hours six days after the aborted exercise.

The meeting was mediated by former labour leaders, including Hassan Sunmunu, Ali Ciroma and Governor Adams Oshiomole of Edo State.

NLC Election Disrupted In Abuja

NLCThe election of a new national executive of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has ended in chaos in Abuja.

Aggrieved delegates were caught on Channels Television camera smashing and emptying ballot boxes with ballot papers flying on the floor of the International Conference Centre.

The workers alleged that the ballot papers were designed to favour one of the candidates vying for the President of the union.

Over 3,000 delegates commenced voting on Thursday as the General Secretary of National Union of Electricity Employees, Joe Ajaero and the President of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Wabba Ayuba, presented themselves for election to replace Adbulwaheed Omar.

The President of NUPENG, Igwe Achese, had withdrawn from the race for Ajaero.

The NLC was formed by Nigerian workers in 1978 and has successfully conducted 10 delegates conferences.

Make Nigeria’s refineries work, NUPENG tells Jonathan

As Scarcity of petroleum persist in some part of the Country, The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) charged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency, put the nation’s four refineries in a fully functional state, if fuel subsidy deduction is in the interest of the people.

NUPENG President; Comrade Igwe Achese was speaking to journalists in Calabar, Cross River state after their week long union meeting alongside the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria(PENGASSAN).

The oil and gas unions said only working and effective refineries can remove the incessant sufferings Nigerians are facing.

Igwe echoed that the only solution to the problem at hand is for the refineries in the country to be functional and effective and that is the position of the union on the matter.

The NUPENG President added that, if the president can not address the issues affecting the union and the nation as whole, the oil workers will be left with no other choice than to down-tools any moment.

PENGASSAN President; Comrade Babatunde Ogun also spoke on the need to improve on the ills in the oil and gas sector saying the insensitivity of government to listen to the union led the oil industry to the present situation it is presently, as most marketers have hiked the price.

Ogun remarked that corruption in the industry calls for proper scrutiny and called on the Federal Government to stop casualization and improve the security of the workers.

Other issues discussed included the unions support for the passage of the petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), deregulation of the downstream sector as well as assessment of the Removal of the fuel subsidy.

NNPC blames fuel scarcity in Lagos on vandalised Arepo pipeline

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is blaming the current fuel scarcity in the country on the vandalisation of the pipeline at Arepo village.

Manager Public Affair, Omar Farouk Ibrahim, said “the pipeline at Arepo carries between 10 million and 11 million litres of fuel per day to Lagos and its environs and some part of the states in the North.”

He said that since the vandalisation, supply has been disrupted.

He pointed out that because of security reasons, NNPC is not prepared to go back and effect repairs on the pipeline.

It will be recalled that officials of the NNPC were attacked and killed during a visit to control the spill on the damaged pipeline in Arepo.

The Acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs of the NNPC, Fidel Pepple, told journalists that Corporation has bridged the supplies from Atlas-cove and Apapa axis as well as between Apapa and Ilorin to ensure that the scarcity is minimised.

According to the NNPC spokesman, the bridging at this point is to ensure that there are no shortages in Lagos and Ilorin environs as there have been fears that the government wants to increase the pump price of the product but NNPC officials dismissed such fears saying government has not made such intention known to marketers.

“I want to assure Nigerians that NNPC has stepped up fuel supply to marketers and distributors for effective and efficient supply of fuel to Nigerians. As I speak, we have raised the daily supply of fuel from Folawiyo tank farm from 150 tankers to 250 tankers, MRS from 100 to 200 tankers, Capital Oil to 300 tankers, NIPCO to 70 tankers and AITEO to 100 tankers,” Mr. Pepple said.

Barely weeks after a looming fuel crisis was averted following a truce between the Federal Government and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) vehicular queues surfaced in some fuel stations in Lagos, Abeokuta and the Federal Capital City.

In stations where the products are sold, motorists were subjected to buying from one pump thereby causing panic and anxiety.

Some motorist said they have to pay as much as N200 before they were attended at some filling stations.

When contacted, the Acting Group General Manager, Public Affairs of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Fidel Pepple said the corporation is studying the situation and will react in due course.

Meanwhile, the NUPENG president, Igwe Achese has taken a swipe at the federal government for failing to revamp the nation’s refineries adding that private depot and jetty owners are not importing products presently.

And in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, long vehicular queues were seen across the metropolis, with some of the filling stations dispensing fuel.

A visit to the NNPC mega station located along the Governor’s Office and other stations revealed that motorists spend long period of time before getting the commodity.

Other filling stations across the metropolis were under lock and key forcing buyers to rush to where the commodity was available.

This situation has however led to the hike in the intra transport fare in the state capital