PENGASSAN wants Buhari to halt massive retrenchment of Nigerian workers by IOCs

10 November 2015, Abuja =
Senior oil workers in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry have said that major international oil and gas companies operating in the country’s hydrocarbon industry are cashing in on the lasting instability in crude oil prices to lay off Nigerian workers.

The workers union, under the aegis of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have warned that such development would not be tolerated by it.

They have therefore appealed to the federal government to intervene and ensure that such mass retrenchment of Nigerian workers by the IOCs is stopped.

According to the National President of PENGASSAN, Francis Johnson who spoke with reporters at the 4th Triennial Delegates Conference of NNPC Corporate Headquarter (CHQ) branch of the union, the union expects the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) to immediately come out with a clear policy statement on the development.

Johnson said: “Most of the IOCs are just trying to hide under the guise of fall in crude price to retrench workers, because definitely the price keeps fluctuating. All over the world, oil companies are facing the same situation but are they also resorting to mass redundancy.”
“That is why we are saying NAPIMS should come out with a clear policy statement on this because we know that for every redundancy, NAPIMS must also be involved.

“And so if NAPIMS does not approve and suggest other ways, alternatives will be sort. Because there are alternatives and no one should say because there is fall in crude oil then people must lose their jobs. Price can go up to $70-80 anytime and so workers must be retained.”

Johnson further stated that such redundancy is, “causing severe pain on job security of our members and this is at variance with the job creation plans of the federal government.” He thus added that the impacts of such situation on Nigeria’s economy would be harsh.
“Redundancy can never and will not be an acceptable way out of this situation as all the stakeholders need to have a common front as a way out of this unacceptable redundancy quagmire bedeviling the industry,” Johnson explained.

While commenting on the government’s expected composition of a board for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Johnson asked the government to restrict its appointment of board members for the corporation to experts, adding political considerations in the composition of the board would make mess of the government’s ongoing restructuring of the corporation’s operations.

“The best way to avoid such instances of political interference in the affairs of NNPC is to ensure that political considerations are not accommodated in the new board for NNPC. So far, we hear that the government is looking for experts to be part of that board,” he stated.

Speaking earlier, NNPC (CHQ) branch chairman of the union, Marcus Avong said the union fully supports the on-going reform in the NNPC.

Avong however, urged the new management of the corporation to diversify the revenue sources of NNPC in view of the current low price of crude oil in the international market.

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