Sack of 3,000 members: NUPENG threatens mass protest, gives FG 21 days ultimatum

For losing over 3,000 of its members to mass sack by oil majors in the country so far the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG), has threatened to mobilise a mass protest if the Federal Government does not find a way to recall the affected workers.

The oil workers union therefore handed the FG 21 days to redress the mass sack of its members or face mass action very soon.

The union gave the warning in a communique issued on Wednesday by the Central Working Committee at a meeting in Warri, Delta State.

The oil workers decried the sack of over 3,000 workers by oil majors and service companies who are closing shops on account of the economic recession.

The communique was presented to journalists by the President of NUPENG, Igwe Achese.

It flayed the FG for worsening the crisis in the oil industry by its failure to meet its Joint Venture cash calls and stifling the populace by concentrating on fight against corruption while the economy suffers.

The communique read in part: “As I address you, Chevron has wound up its Eastern operations and their offices closed.

“A total of 1,500 workers were sacked without their entitlements and nobody is saying anything.

“As we speak, many companies have left, others are winding up.

“ExxonMobil has asked its contract staffs to go, that it can no longer pay them.nPan Ocean, Sapiem, Grand Petroleum, Hercules Offshore, all around Warri have closed shops.

“About 3000 workers have already been sacked by various oil companies.

“FG should act fast to avert further lost of jobs. There is too much redundancy in the oil industry.

“NUPENG will take all necessary action to drive home its demands if government fails to act in 21 days.

“We are 100 per cent in support in the fight against anti-corruption, but there must be respite for Nigerians.

“Right now, our members and even those in other sectors are no longer able to pay school fees for their children and even afford rents.

“Worse still, those being sacked now are so treated without commitment to proper terminal benefits.”

While accusing the FG of perceived  failure in reviving the oil industry, the union called for an urgent passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and FG regularisation of its JV cash calls.

The union, which lauded the FG on the success recorded in the fight against Boko Haram, also kicked against the proposed sale of national assets, urging the industry regulators to wake up to their responsibilities.

According to the statement, “The CWC in session notes that it is a shame that Ghana which recently discovered oil has passed its PIB into law.

“We frown at the politics that be cloud passage of the PIB the past eight years when it was first sent to National Assembly.

“CWC frowns at the refusal of and delay in payment of JV cash calls to the multinationals which has created serious liquidity challenges resulting in negotiating redundancies almost on daily basis.

“We x-rayed state of the economy and believe a lot needs to be done to put it on track. FG should urgently address the challenges posed by inflation which has risen to 17.9 per cent and the non-payment of workers salaries at local and state levels.”

NUPEND also called on the government to halt kidnapping of citizens, suggesting the introduction of new technologies to track perpetrators of such acts and bring them to book.