14 January 2016, Lagos – The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has vowed to resist any attempt by oil and gas operators to sack its workers.
NUPENG Secretary-General, Joseph Ogbebor, said several thousands of workers have suffered unduly in the hands of operators in the downstream and upstream segments of the industry since the oil glut started last year, arguing that the issue would aggravate the problems in the sector, if not stopped.
He said the body and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) would ensure that oil and gas operators follow due process before they lay off their workers, adding that this is only way to check redundancy in the sector.
He said oil glut was taking its toll on the industry because firms are winding down their operations.
“We are studying the situation in the industry, with regard to the fall in price of crude oil, and we would take action on the issue soon. At the appropriate time, we would invoke section 20 of the Labour Act on oil firms operating in the country. Through this, we would ensure that the companies engage us (NUPENG) and the DPR in mutual discussions before they sack their workers.”
According to him, why should downsizing remain the only visible option for the oil firms, adding that the issue needs to be sorted out between DPR and NUPENG on one hand, and the companies that want to retrench, on the other hand, before such activities are carried out?
He said redundancies in the petroleum sector should be condemned by stakeholders, arguing that the idea would kill the industry fast if not checked.
On fuel supply, Ogbebor said his members had been performing their roles of distributing fuel to designated outlets, in line with the directives of marketers.
He said if Oando engages tanker drivers by mandating them to supply its outlets across the country, such drivers have no choice than to keep to the instructions of their employer.
He said the role of tanker drivers was to lift fuel and take it to the approved outlets, and not to bother themselves with the issue of compliance with the new price regime of N86.50 per litre of petrol.
He also said diversion of petroleum products is a criminal offence, adding that his association opposes it.
- The Nation