NUPENG, PENGASSAN Divided Over Planned strike

NUPENGThere appears to be a division between unions representing oil workers in Nigeria.

This comes ahead of a planned strike to protest the alleged unfair treatment of oil workers.

The South West Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Mr Tokunbo Korodo said a meeting with representatives of the Federal Government, which was scheduled to take place on Thursday has been shifted till July 11.

He noted that NUPENG remains open to the option of dialogue to ensure Nigerians are not made to suffer unnecessarily.

However, the National Public Relations Officer, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Mr Emmanuel Ojugbana, confirmed to Channels Television that all is now set for the planned strike.

He added that the gradual method of shutting down activities and operations in the oil and gas sector is being adopted by its members.

He also said the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) will also be affected during the strike.

Oil Workers Shut Down Refinery, NNPC Facilities In Rivers

NNPCThe Port Harcourt refinery and all NNPC facilities have been shut down in Rivers State following the controversies surrounding the purported unbundling of the oil corporation.

This was confirmed to Channels Television on Wednesday by the Group Secretary of the National Union Of Petroleum & Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Uche Amara, in Abuja where the union leaders are currently meeting.

According to him, the unions were not just concerned about the unbundling procedure which lacked due process, but also other labour matters that needed the attention of the Federal government.

‘Down Tool’

The ‘down tool’ is coming after oil workers shut down the operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) nationwide until further notice.

The decision was reached on Tuesday at a meeting of the Group Executive Councils of NUPENG and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN).

Meanwhile, oil workers have shut down Kaduna refinery over the purported unbundling of the NNPC, asking the government to reverse the decision.

Channels Television’s correspondent in Kaduna State said that the workers locked up the refinery gate, preventing management staff and others from entering the refinery.

In an attempt to address the issues that had resulted after media reports linked him to the statement about the purported unbundling, the Minister of Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said that the NNPC would not be unbundled but reorganised.

NNPC GMD Stresses Need To Fine-Tune PIB

Emmanuel-Ibe-KachikwuThe Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on Tuesday explained that the Petroleum Industry Bill, which has been pending before the National Assembly in the last seven years, requires extensive engagements with all stakeholders to iron out all grey areas.

Dr. Kachikwu, who chaired a special session on the proposed law at the ongoing 55th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association in Abuja titled: Legal and Regulatory Framework of the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria: Review of existing Laws and the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), described the bill “as an essential legislation which must be approached with all the seriousness and thoroughness it deserves.

“PIB is a serious affair, it is an essential piece of legislation but as we all know a lot of engagement is required to address all the issues because the oil and gas environment has changed. There are issues of cost, with oil going down to $40 per barrel, the PIB cannot be the same,’’ Dr. Kachikwu said.

The NNPC GMD explained that because of the volume of extensive consultation and time required to make the bill a workable document, it is only natural to kick start the reforms in the industry with the existing laws while waiting for the eventual passage of the proposed law.

“The reform of the petroleum industry is key and it is an area where we are going to put a lot of focus. Transparency is key. Restructuring is key. Sometimes people don’t realize that the problem hasn’t been NNPC, it is a problem of political will to go forward and implement the outcome of researches and reports that had been done but fortunately for us this time around that is what the President has brought to the table. He has strong political will to see this through,’’ he said.

Commenting on what the Federal Government intends to do with the draft legislation, Dr. Kachikwu informed that PIB has come to stay though it would take a bit of time to perfect the draft.

“PIB is important, but we need to x-ray the issues. We need at least one year to get it back on track. The reality is that we cannot afford to wait any longer for change in the petroleum sector because of the delay in the passage of PIB, things have got to start happening and that’s exactly what we are doing,’’ the GMD stated.

Echoing Dr. Kachikwu’s position, Comrade Peter Esele, former President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), who was also President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), noted that though PIB is key, the industry can make do with existing laws to activate essential reforms in the sector.

NPDC Workers Protest Transfer of OML 42 In Benin

NNPC-oil-gas-workersStaff of the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) in Benin City are calling for a reversal of the sale and transfer of operatorship of Oil Mining Licence (OML) 42 from a private company known as Neconde.

The workers, who took a peaceful protest round the company office along Sapele Road in Benin City the Edo State capital, in a statement made available to Channels Television alleged that the process of sale and transfer of the licence was shrouded in secrecy and did not follow due process.

The statement, signed by the Chairman of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), NPDC branch, also noted that all attempts to get the management to revisit the transfer process proved abortive.

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.