Kunle Kalerjaye 30 December 2015, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Oil workers, under the auspices 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.
The workers vowed to resist plans by the Federal Government to retrench workers, especially employees of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, as a result of the restructuring of the corporation as proposed under the PIB.
In a statement, the association said the planned retrenchment of workers was not in tandem with the “change” the Federal 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, who is also Group Managing Director of the NNPC, PENGASSAN’s acting General Secretary, Comrade Lumumba Okugbawa, said the provisions in the proposed PIB were not only anti-labour but also not in the national interest.
PENGASSAN noted some of the inconsistencies in the draft bill to 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 bill as currently drafted will create job loss as no provision for absorption or transfer of service for the work force is contemplated.
* 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.