Oil Workers Suspend Strike

Oil_workersMembers of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), and their counterparts at the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), at the weekend suspended their five-day-old strike.

The suspension was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a marathon meeting with the Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke and the Management of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

The oil workers had on Monday ordered their members to embark on indefinite strike in protest against NNPC’s alleged refusal to address unresolved pension issues concerning workers in the oil industry

The communiqué, which was read by NUPENG President, Mr Achese Igwe, was signed by PENGASSAN President, Mr Francis Johnson, and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr Jamila Shu’ara.

Others who signed the communiqué include NNPC GMD, Dr Joseph Dawha; Group Chairman, NNPC PENGASSAN, Mr Abdulhakim Sanusi; Group Chairman NNPC NUPENG, Mr Richard Otovwievwiere and Chairman, Department of Petroleum Resources PENGASSAN, Mr Anba Ndoma-Egba.

Igwe said the industrial action was suspended after the intervention of the Minister of Petroleum Resources.

“By virtue of the intervention of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, the strike embarked upon by NUPENG and PENGASSAN of NNPC Group Executive councils and DPR is hereby suspended,” he said.

He said after exhaustive deliberations, the Minister informed the unions that PENCOM letter withdrawing the temporary licence granted to NNPC to run defined Benefited Scheme had been reversed.

According to him, the Minister affirmed that participatory approval had been given to measures and timeliness proposed by the NNPC management to close the existing N86.5bn pension fund gap on or before August 2015.

He said, “The minister emphasised the need to embrace international standard pension fund structure and framework so that the pension gap is closed, the frame work will ensure that the pension fund is invested and managed to guarantee sustainability.

“It was agreed that a committee comprising members drawn from NNPC Management, PENGASSAN, NUPENG, DPR, RSA, and CSLD will be established to work out the modalities and framework for sustaining the NNPC pension scheme, along the oil and gas Private Sector lines.”

He said the Minister also affirmed that the issue of NNPC crude oil supply to refineries, Turn Around Maintenance of the Refineries and other internal operational matters should be internally handled by the NNPC management and the staff unions.

He said the NNPC GMD in consultation with the in-house unions shall determine the amount to be paid as the lump to the pension fund within the approval already granted by the Minister of Petroleum Resources.

He said the Minister assured the meeting that the NNPC GMD has the capacity to deal with the concerns of the unions on the strategic Alliance Agreement between NPDC and other companies.

PENGASSAN President, Mr Francis Johnson, in an interview with newsmen after the meeting said the unions were satisfied with the agreement and would immediately order their members to resume work.

He, however, said the unions would be monitoring the implementation of the agreement which he said would determine the sustainability of the suspended strike.

NNPC Workers Storm Abuja, Protest Sale Of Refineries

Workers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have protested the plan by the Nigerian government to sell the nation’s oil refineries in Kaduna, Warri and Port Harcourt to private investors in the first quarter of 2014.

The protest was held under the umbrella of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria [PENGASSAN].

The workers, who came out in their numbers at the headquarters of the corporation in Abuja, said that the planned sale of the refineries is a wrong move by the Federal Government.

The Group Chairman of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers [NUPENG], Richard Otovwievwiere, said that the workers were opposed to the sale of the refineries as it would impact negatively on the nation’s economy.

He said that the union members have not been treated well by the government, accusing the government of trying to take their wealth.

NUPENG suspends strike over subsidy payment

The Federal Government and Labour on Thursday night suspended the one-week strike by the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) in Abuja.

The union subsequently directed tanker drivers to resume lifting and suspend the planned nationwide strike.

In a communique signed by all parties and read by the minister of labour chief emeka wogu, it was resolved that all the issues raised over subsidy payments, non payment of salaries among others will be looked into and reviewed in 2weeks.

The communique said the meeting between government, NUPENG, NLC, depot owners and oil marketers was fruitful, adding that the government and the unions agreed to work together towards finding a solution to all the issues in dispute.

They also agreed that those accused of fuel subsidy fraud should submit themselves to the ongoing verification exercise, while the meeting confirmed that the Federal Government had been paying all verified claims and would continue to pay all claims so verified.

Two sub-committees were set up to look into the issues concerning unfair labour practices in the Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum and the penalty clauses in the Petroleum Products Price and Regulation Agency (PPPRA) rules.

The Federal Government also agreed to provide a platform for government, Labour and stakeholders to discuss efforts being made in the provision of infrastructure and rehabilitation of the refineries with a view to finding a way forward. It also agreed on a continuous engagement between government and the unions.

Confirming the call off, National President of NUPENG, Achese Igwe said “The strike action has been called off… Within two weeks we will come back again, to sit down to look at the issues again,”.

He directed tanker drivers to resume the distribution of petroleum products to Abuja which has been hit with scarcity since last week

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“We have also directed immediately that our tanker drivers should go back to work and make sure product is being lifted into Abuja” he said.