The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has denied the allegation by labour unions that it sacked 850 workers at the refineries.
Labour unions, under the aegis of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN), had alleged that the NNPC sacked 850 contract workers at the country’s refineries.
But the Group General Manager (GGM), Group Public Affairs Division (GPAD), Dr. Kennie Obateru, reportedly punctured the allegation by the labour unions, stressing that NNPC did not sack any worker.
Obateru is quoted in a report as saying: “I’m sure they were referring to the termination of contracts between NNPC and some of its contractors at the refineries over two months ago. Because the contractors have no more contracts with NNPC, it affected their workers. So they were not NNPC workers and we did not sack our workers,” he said.
The unions made the claim in a joint statement issued by the National President, NUPENG, Comrade Williams Akporeha, and his counterpart in PENGASSAN, Comrade Ndukaku Ohaeri, as well as their general secretaries.
The statement was entitled ‘NUPENG and PENGASSAN strongly react to comments by Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, on refineries and oil and gas workers’.
“On the purported threat of the Group Managing Director of NNPC to sack workers, we wish to state here that it was actually no more a threat but that it had already been carried out with the sack of 850 support staff in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, throwing almost a thousand workers into hard financial situation without an iota of empathy or consultation with the union,” it said.
The unions said they never threatened to go on strike, but they only demanded to be engaged for a proper discussion on the commensurate terminal benefits of the workers who had worked for 10 to 15 years.
They said: “We found it rather highly inhuman and unfair on the part of NNPC management to sack these workers with only their last pay cheques after 15 good years of their lives in NNPC.
“If a Minister of Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Group Managing Director of NNPC can dismiss contract workers that have served for more than 10 years continuously as if they are rodents, what more can we expect from lOCs? The monthly salaries of 25 of these contract staff put together cannot equal a typical management staff salary of the same organisation.”
However, the NNPC recently concluded its recruitment exercise in which over 1000 fresh graduates were employed in a transparent manner under the leadership of its Group Managing Director (GMD), Mallam Mele Kyari.