The Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation, NNPC, has denied sacking 850 staff members, saying that the disengaged workforce are not staff of the corporation.
Recall that the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association, PENGASSAN, had on Monday raised an alarm over alleged sacking of 850 contract workers by the NNPC.
The oil unions’ statement was signed by the NUPENG National President Williams Akporeha, PENGASSAN National President Ndukaku Ohaeri, as a reaction to Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, who had earlier disclosed plans to sack refinery workers to cushion the impact of COVID-19 in the oil industry.
The workers faulted the minister’s statement for being “laced with fabricated misinformation, misrepresentation of facts and falsehoods”.
“On the purported threat of the Group Managing Director of NNPC to sack workers, we wish to state here that it was actually no more a threat but that it had already been carried out with the sack of 850 support staff in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, throwing almost a thousand workers into hard financial situation without an iota of empathy or consultation with the union,” the statement reads in part.
The unions claimed that they never threatened to go on strike, but rather demanded to be engaged for a proper discussion on the commensurate terminal benefits of the workers, who already worked for 10 to 15 years.
“We found it rather highly inhuman and unfair on the part of NNPC management to sack these workers with only their last pay cheques after 15 good years of their lives in NNPC,” the unions said.
“If a Minister of Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Group Managing Director of NNPC can dismiss contract workers that have served for more than 10 years continuously as if they are rodents, what more can we expect from lOCs.
“The monthly salaries of 25 of these contract staff put together cannot equal a typical management staff salary of the same organisation.”
However, speaking with Premium Times, the spokesperson of the NNPC, Kennie Obateru, said the workers were laid off because of redundancy.
According to him, the affected workers are not staff of the corporation, but of third party contracting firms.