Nigeria: Govt, oil marketers reach agreement over sacked workers

*Dr. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour & Productivity.

*Dr. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour & Employment.

…As minister wants top management salary slashed

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

22 July 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Federal Government yesterday reached an agreement with some major oil marketers to recall sacked workers as requested by the sector’s labour unions.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, who revealed this at the end of the reconvened meeting with Petroleum Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN), Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and representatives of some oil companies, further asked oil majors, which recently sacked some of their workers, to recall the affected employees.

The minister said that in order to retain jobs in the oil and gas sector, oil and gas firms need to reduce the salaries of top management staff.

He warned indigenous and international oil companies that Nigeria would not tolerate indiscriminate sack of workers, notwithstanding the economic situation.

Ngige stressed that one of the cardinal objectives of the present administration is to create jobs for the citizenry.

It would be recalled that the Management of Universal Energy Ltd was alleged to have sacked 20 of the 22 NUPENG members in the company in preference to contract workers. The unions also accused another company, FUGRO Nig. Ltd, of sacking its members and coercing them to sign severance letters and unilaterally terminating 25 members of staff out of which six are executive members of PENGASSAN and NUPENG. It also claimed that Halliburton threatened to reduce its workforce.

Ngige noted that, “After a long deliberation, we resolved all the contentious issues. FUGRO has to revert to status quo and open up discussions on the redundancy situation with the union. They have two weeks to report back to the ministry.

“Universal Energy also has to revert to status quo meaning that the retrenched staff members have to return to work. They are expected to open up a fresh redundancy talks to be monitored by the South-south zone of the Ministry of labour in Uyo and give us a feedback within two weeks.

The Minister commended PENGASSAN for its cooperation towards finding a permanent solution to the disputes in the sector.

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