The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is alleged to have sacked 850 contract staff working in the nation’s refineries.
This is according to a statement jointly signed by the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN).
It was signed by Williams Akporeha (NUPENG National President), Ndukaku Ohaeri (PENGASSAN National President), Afolabi Olawale (NUPENG General Secretary), and Lumumba Okugbawa (PENGASSAN General Secretary).
The unions also faulted the comments purportedly made by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, on refineries and oil and gas workers in the country.
They accused the minister of claiming that the refineries have not been working for three years while workers have continued to receive salaries and promotions.
He was also said to have blamed the oil workers for the sorry state of the refineries and that the union threatened to go on strike when NNPC said it would sack support staff.
In their response, the unions said the purported comments were laced with fabricated misinformation, misrepresentation of facts and falsehoods.
They said such comments were uncharitable and appalling, alleging that the minister was only making attempt to blamed what they described as the policy failure, maladministration, lack of foresight, and mismanagement of the refineries on hapless workers.
“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 said.
The unions denied the claim that they threatened to go on strike, saying they demanded to be engaged for a proper discussion on the commensurate terminal benefits of the workers who have worked for 10 to 15 years.
“If a Minister of the 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,” the statement added.
When contacted for its reaction, the NNPC told Channels Television that it would speak about the allegations on Wednesday.