Thursday, March 10, 2016 6:55 am
A strike at Nigeria’s state oil firm NNPC has not affected production in the Niger Delta, a labour union official said.
The strike affected only administrative staff at NNPC, not workers at production units, said Chika Onuegbu, an official at the PENGASSAN union which has called a strike to protest against a government plan to overhaul NNPC.
He said production units of NNPC’s foreign partners Shell , Agip and Chevron and subsidiaries were also working normally.
The two unions in the oil and gas sectors, began a sudden strike on Wednesday in protest over the process of unbundling the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The unions, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) said the exercise did not follow due process.
Mr Sale Abdullahi, Group Chairman, PENGASSAN, NNPC nationwide, said that the strike would continue until the government invites them for dialogue.
“ We are not against the unbundling, but the process that may bring about labour issues. When you unbundle into several other companies, what will happen to the workers; are you going to distribute them to the other companies; what will be the effect.
“If it is going to be transfer of service, there has to be negotiations; will it be based on the same condition of service or a new condition of service,” he said.
Abdullahi said that the unions had made several attempts prior to the pronouncement to meet with Dr Ibe Kachukwu, the Minister of state for Petroleum Resources to ascertain his agenda for the workers.
“Worldwide if you are doing any transformational change you need to involve the stakeholders.
“It is important to engage the stakeholders as their inputs and criticisms may contribute to robust restructuring,” he said, and urged the minister to dialogue with the unions to resolve the issues.
Abdullahi recalled that when Kachukwu was appointed, he said that the corporation was too large and needed to be trimmed down into four directorates.
“He did that and was commended for it. But today, he wants to bring them back again; what sort of transformation is that.
“When the minister was appointed, we expected him to take care of pipeline vandalism such that the fuel supply will be available everywhere.
“Rather than focus on these issues, he is doing otherwise. Even before we embarked on strike you must have observed that there were queues everywhere; the job to be done is to eliminate those queues first.
“It is not the issue of restructuring that should come first; there are other motives for this restructuring,” Abdullahi said.