Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, yesterday, said it was disturbed over unresolved payment of backlog of salaries and entitlements of workers in Tecon Oil Services and Seawolf Drilling Services in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, despite several government interventions, threatening to down tools nationwide without notice.
In a statement by its President, Mr. Igwe Achese, the union pleaded with government and other relevant agencies to prevail on the two oil firms to pay the workers their benefits immediately, saying: “The union is, therefore, issuing a notice to withdraw its services any moment from now in solidarity with the affected workers if the unresolved payment of salaries and entitlements of these workers are not settled.
“NUPENG wants to state that earlier ultimatum issued to the companies on these issues had long expired without the payment of the entitlements and government interventions had remained inconclusive. NUPENG will therefore, without further notice shut down in solidarity with the workers as all efforts at mediation had failed.”
“NUPENG is disappointed that despite the interventions of some government agencies such as the Department of State Service, DSS, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, nothing has come out.
“NUPENG has therefore, put its members in the Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD and Petrol Station Workers on alert to withdraw its members from their work places as soon as they get directive from the National Secretariat of the Union to commence action.
“It must be pointed out that the Management of Tecon Oil Services reneged on the communiqué with the Union on off-loading the severance benefits of our members working in the company. Rather the company resorted to intimidating and cajoling the workers and in the midst of all these, the Chairperson’s appointment was terminated. As for Seawolf workers, it has been a tale of woes for over five years, as their salaries and terminal benefits have not been paid since the taking over of the Company by Assets Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON.”
In the meantime, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu Wednesday stated that the present oil that has remained the main stay of the nation’s economy may not last beyond 39 years.
The Minister also lamented that Nigeria remained the only oil producing country still struggling with the importation of refined petroleum products. Speaking at the 5th Triennial National Delegates Conference of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN in Abuja Kachukwu described as embarrassing the country’s inability to refine oil in the country.