Oil workers flay proposed PIB, reject layoff plan

Oil workers, member sof PENGASSAN. Photo: naij

Oil workers, member sof PENGASSAN. Photo: naij

Oil workers, under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), have condemned the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), describing it as anti-labour.

Besides, the workers vowed to resist the plan by the Federal Government to retrench workers, especially employees of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as a result of the restructuring agenda in the proposed PIB.
According to them, the planned sack was not in tandem with the “change” that the government promised Nigerians, especially in the area of job creation.

Reacting to the official release of the proposed draft institutional and legal frameworks for reforms in the oil and gas industry by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, PENGASSAN’s acting General Secretary, Lumumba Okugbawa, said the provisions in the proposed PIB are not only anti-labour but is at variance with the national interest.

Okugbawa, who commended the renewed effort by the Minister to rejuvenate the reforms after several failed attempts in the past, noted that PENGASSAN has always been in support of the reforms in the oil and gas industry but with a caveat that it must be transparently done to make sure that stakeholders in the oil and gas industry are carried along.

He however added that, PENGASSAN will not support any reforms that jeopardises the welfare of its members, noting that, the restructuring will be resisted if it negatively affects the Association’ members.

On the planned to sack half of the current NNPC’s employees, Okugbawa said the plan if carried out will further compound the unemployment situation in the country, adding that, there is nothing wrong with the unbundling of the NNPC to bring about greater efficiency and effectiveness, if only the unbundling and repositioning of the corporation would be done with human face.

We have said on many occasions that the problem of the NNPC is not the workers but the high level of political interference in the corporation and we are satisfied that the current government has promised to give the corporation free hand to operate for better service delivery to the Nigerian nation.

Some of the inconsistencies noted by PENGASSAN in the draft bill include:
·A subtle ploy in Section 87 (Transfer of Staff) to retrench or drop some of the work force transiting to the new Nigeria Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NPRC) with the contentious clause ‘’transfer of certain employees’’;
·inability to specify the role or status of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (Management Board) which hitherto is vested with the responsibility of ensuring uniform pricing of petroleum products in Section 3 of the draft Bill;
·apart from the uncertainty of the agency’s institutional role, the draft bill as currently drafted will create job loss as no provision for absorption or transfer of service for the work force is contemplated; and
·cessation of employment and transfer of staff should be automatic and guaranteed as provided by the Public Service rules and constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

To this end, the oil workers called on the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources to engage the national body of the union as a matter of priority on the anomalies noticed in the draft Bill and quickly address the contentious sections of concerns to the unions, especially as it affects job loss, so as to avert industrial crisis in the industry.

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  • oyeols

    Why should we keep them there if they have nothing to do? The unions are just blowing hot air. Oil workers have lost their jobs across the world! Even in Nigeria, IOC’s such as Shell, Agip, Total, Chevron etc have laid off staff in the wake of the crash in crude prices. It is now the NNPC that will not loose staff!? For real!!

    We have too many staff in public service whose level of productivity is probably in the 5-20% margin. In the real sense, Nigerian public service could make do with about 60-70% of its current staff strength if it increases productivity to say 60%.

  • chiemex

    jungle don de mature

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  • bigbang

    Warri refinery has not worked for years. But government is still paying staff. Labor unions in Nigeria are crazy. Government should get rid of unproductive workers.

    • akpo

      Stop your misinformation drive laced with envy. Even when other refineries were not producing, W.R.P.C. has been consistence in processing crude oil for years.The warri refinery command the highest concentration of competent staff in NNPC as exemplified by many awards. The shut downs experienced by the plant were mainly compelled by
      pipeline vandalism at the behest of criminals in government to promote the culture of subsidy with a surreptitious motive to sell the refineries to themselves.Their plan is beginning to succeed.The past regime had that plan but the
      timing was rather too close to election hence the idea was postponed but unfortunately they did not have the chance
      to effect their desire.
      This was how OBJ orchestrated the privatization of Eleme Petrochemicals in Rivers State with Indians as front. The Indian team were able to re-stream the plant using the staff inherited from NNPC including retired refineries’ staff. Thereafter,their market size went beyond Nigeria borders to wit India. Today, the Nigerian state has lost that asset.
      So the problem of the refineries is corruption not “unproductive workers”.
      I would prefer the refineries should be traded in the Nigerian stock Exchange but free from government interference.
      I pray the PIB. will address this area.

      • yinka

        Honestly, some of the workers are not needed anymore. Obviously, the reform will affect some workers and the union must be reasonable

        • akpo

          To score 100% is usually very difficult. Thus after any reorganization, management

          would determine the refinery staff strength on their own criteria.Some of them can only be replaced by expatriates. Paper qualified Nigerians cannot replace them as many of them lack competence—-dexterity.

    • yinka

      A former manager of the refinery said the plant is functionally obsolete. In short, it is reach a point where maintenance cost vs replacement option need to be evaluated,

  • emmanuel kalu

    Nigeria leaders need not be afraid of this labor union. I am for labor unions, however sometimes they get in the way. we can’t afford the government workers we have and we must make cuts starting with every politician. it is time we begin to face the hard truth about our economy and budget. we spend to much on recurring expenses and ineffective workers.