17 August 2015, Abuja – The management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, headed by its Group Managing Director, Dr. Emmanuel Kachikwu, will start meeting with key officials of unions in the sector as well as the entire workforce of the national oil firm beginning from today (Monday).
It was also learnt that the sack in the corporation would only affect top management workers and most of those affected had already been fired.
The Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, had raised concerns over the approach being used to implement the reform programme in the oil and gas industry by the NNPC management.
The oil workers, who said they were not being carried along in the process, had challenged Kachikwu to recover the stolen trillions of naira in the sector rather than “retiring and sacking innocent workers,” which they described as “an act of cover-up.”
Our correspondent gathered on Sunday that the GMD had scheduled to meet with the unions as well as workers in order to address the workers’ concerns.
Asked if the GMD would meet the workers anytime soon to address their complaints, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the corporation, Mr. Ohi Alegbe, said, “Yea, we’ve already scheduled a meeting with the whole staff on Tuesday. The new management will be meeting with the entire staff on Tuesday. Before then, the management would have met with the national presidents of NUPENG and PENGASSAN.
“And after that, the management will meet with the in-house unions’ leadership, that is the NNPC union leadership which comprises NUPENG and PENGASSAN before he meets with the entire staff. This goes to show how much the management wants to carry the unions along.”
Alegbe told our correspondent that the restructuring at the firm would not warrant mass sacking, as speculated by many workers.
He said, “In fact, we had to issue a statement to the workers that it is not true that most of them will be sacked. It is not true. If anyone does that, then the system might collapse.
“There was palpable tension, of course, but we tried to allay the fears and we briefed the unions to tell their members that there was no need to panic. The tension was heightened by the media reports of Friday. The reports misrepresented the GMD.”
Asked if the GMD had perfected plans to retrench workers who were to retire within the next two years, Ohi replied, “It is not true. In fact, the GMD, when he addressed the senior management staff on Thursday, the word he used was ‘I’m not on a mass retrenchment binge.’ He has done what he has to do. Every action he has taken has enjoyed the approval of the President and is only limited to the top management.
“So it doesn’t go down to the other staff from GMs down. In fact what he is promising is that he will train and retrain most of the staff so that they can fit into the new structure that is going to be in place.
“In fact, we try to allay the fears of the senior workers, the PENGASSAN and the NUPENG workers as of Thursday or Friday when they thought that there would be the sacking of all those who are due to retire within a year. But this is not true. It wasn’t extended to that period. The ones who have been retired are the only people affected by that arrangement.”
Kachikwu, according to a statement from the corporation, stated that the mandate given to him by President Muhammadu Buhari was to turn around the entire commercial processes and procedures in order to impact on the growth trajectory and operations of the corporation.
The NNPC helmsman noted that all Production Sharing Contracts, Joint Venture Agreements and all other contracts between the NNPC and its various partners would be reviewed to reflect current day realities in the global oil and gas industry.
Kachikwu stated that the recent repositioning was to put in place the right set of skills for performance stressing that the new arrangement provided a veritable vista for up and coming professionals in the corporation to have a speedy career path.
He stated that the NNPC under his watch would put in place mechanisms that would plug all revenue leakages in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors while adding that all crude oil proceeds due for the Federation Account would be remitted accordingly.