By Prince Okafor
OIL workers under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, yesterday, threatened to shut down the operations of Neconde Energy Limited (NEL) over non compliance with agreement reached on transfer of 25 workers to Warri.
Neconde, an indigenous oil and gas company, operates OML 42 in partnership with the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. PENGASSAN blocked the entrance to NEL offices on Victoria Island, Lagos, from 6.00am, yesterday, and picketed the company’s offices in Lagos and Warri insisting, that the actions would continue if the company refuses to come to terms with their demands.
Addressing the workers, who sealed the company’s corporate head office in Lagos over alleged violation of an agreement between the leadership of PENGASSAN and Neconde, the Lagos Zonal Chairman of PENGASAN, Abel Agarin, said the union had written several letters to the company to resolve the issues but to no avail. He stated: “Our demand is that we want a communiqué in place that will address the transfer issue of these 21 employees that are affected.”
According to a communiqué issued by the union members in PENGASSAN Neconde branch, they alleged “forceful restructuring, alignment, harmonization of structure and condition of service and policies of NEL across other non- exploration and production subsidiaries of the Obijackson Group.” Neconde is one of the subsidiaries of Obijackson Group.
As part of their grievances the union stated: “Unprocedural, immediate and forceful transfer (including pregnant women/nursing mothers) of Staff from Lagos to Warri; nonpayment of outstanding field allowance of staff from August 2016 till date. No evidence (Tax clearance certificate) of remittance of Employees’ tax (PAYE) to Lagos and Delta State Governments since 2012, to name a few.”
Reacting to the allegations, NEL’s Corporate Communication Manager, Olusegun Micheal, said “We are currently in talks with the leadership of PENGASSAN to ensure that we reach a mutually beneficial agreement on some of the demands presented by the association.
So far, management and the company have enjoyed their co-operation and hope that the association will continue to abide by best in class labour union practices by exploring negotiation and collaboration as labour relations tactics.”