By Egufe Yafugborhi
WARRI—Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas, NUPENG, yesterday gave the Federal Government, a 21-day ultimatum to order the recall of over 3,000 workers sacked by oil majors in the ongoing mass sack of workers in the sector or face a nationwide industrial action.
A communiqué issued yesterday by the Central Working Committee, CWC, meeting in Warri, Delta State, lamented that the 3,000 workers were sacked by oil majors and oil servicing companies who were closing shop on account of the current recession.
In the communiqué read by Igwe Achese,NUPENG’s President, the union also reprimanded the government for allegedly aggravating the crisis in the oil industry by its failure to meet its Joint Venture cash calls and stifling the populace by concentrating on the fight against corruption while the economy was left to suffer.
He said: “As I address you, Chevron has wound up its Eastern operations and its offices closed. A total of 1,500 workers were sacked without their entitlements and nobody is saying anything. As we speak, many companies have left, others are winding up.
ExxonMobil has asked its contract staff to go, insisting that it can no longer pay them. Pan Ocean, Saipem, Grand Petroleum and Hercules Offshore, all around Warri, have closed shop. About 3,000 workers have already been sacked by various oil companies.
“The Federal Government should act fast to avert further loss of jobs. There are too many redundancies in the oil industry. NUPENG will take all necessary action to drive home its demands if government fails to act within 21 days.
We are 100% in support in the fight against corruption, but there must be respite for Nigerians. Right now, our members and even those in other sectors are no longer able to pay school fees for their children. Worse still, those being sacked now are treated without commitment to proper terminal benefits.”
On perceived government failure to revive the oil industry, the union called for the urgent passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, and for government regularisation of its Joint Venture cash calls, while kicking against the sale of national assets, asking industry regulators to wake up to their responsibilities.
He said: “The CWC in session notes that it is a shame that Ghana, which recently discovered oil, has passed its PIB into law. We frown at the politics that has beclouded the passage of the PIB since the past eight years when it was first sent to National Assembly.”