Harsh economic condition behind workers’ salary cut —NLNG

The Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) has stated that it decided to embark on salary cut in its subsidiary, NLNG Ship Management Limited (NSML), due to prevailing harsh economic realities.

According to a statement signed by the Manager, Nigerian Content, Mr Charles Okon, who represented the General Manager, External Relations, Dr Kudo Eresia-Eke,  and sent to the Nigerian Tribune, the company confirmed that reviewed manning levels and wage scale for officers on BGT Vessels would become effective on September 1, 2016.

“This action is in line with the depressed global market situation, and consistent with prevailing industry rates – and has been taken in the interest of the sustainability of the business.

“In reality, the reviewed wage scale cannot be said to be a salary reduction as claimed. The fact is that the company has simply adjusted and aligned wages with internationally obtainable benchmarks.

“For example, our Nigerian officers’ Dollar denominated wages upon conversion at existing rates far exceed wages for their peers who are paid in Naira.

“This decision has been taken in absolute good faith, in response to a more than 60 per cent reduction in company revenues and global oil price, which have dropped from $140 to about $40 per barrel.

“Several BGT vessels have already been laid up while many more areas of reduction are being explored. This is consistent with the national oil company guideline for relevant industry operators to reduce OPEX costs by 40 per cent.

“These actions are also taken to minimise need for staff layoffs or retrenchment, as has been the case in several companies in the industry in response to the steep decline in revenue.

“Other conditions of service of all NSML personnel, including leave days, will remain the same. Leave emoluments also earned in line with current wage scales will be unaffected.

“Management has already communicated these developments to staff and shall continue to engage them during the implementation process and appeal for the understanding and cooperation of all parties,” the company stated.

It will be recalled that seafarers of the NSML, a subsidiary of NLNG, have decried the proposed 50 per cent cut in salary.

According to the Seafarers, ‘‘the protest was in reaction to the mail signed by the Crewing Manager, on behalf of NSML management requiring Nigerian Seafarers to sign and comply with a proposed 50 per cent salary cut within seven days or risk losing their jobs.

‘‘The arbitrary salary slash is expected to take effect from September 1, 2016. Nigerian Seafarers condemn the manner of informing them without proper consultation,’’ describing it as partial, unjust and inhumane.

The Seafarer’s basis for disagreement was further steeped in the fact that Seafarers of other nationalities including Indians, Malaysians, Pakistanis, Russians, Croatians, among others are also challenging the 20 per cent wage cut levied on them by NSML management too. Why should Nigerian Seafarers earn lower than their foreign colleagues?

The protesting Seafarer’s group argue management’s proposal is tantamount to modern day slavery considering their years of rigorous training at Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), and another three years study in the UK.