NUPENG suspends strike in Delta, directs members to resume operations
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), has directed its members who had withdrawn their services in Delta State to resume operations.
President of NUPENG, Williams Akporeha, who gave the directive, explained that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, through the Minister of State, Prof. Stephen Ocheni, and his team brokered settlement between the union and the managements of Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Producing Company (SEEPCO), and British Oil and Gas Limited (BOGEL).
NUPENG said a memorandum of understanding was subsequently signed by all concerned parties at the end of the meeting at the Ministry’s Secretariat in Abuja, where the truce was reached.
The union, had last week accused the two foreign oil firms of frustrating the legitimate demand of their workers to join the union.
Akporeha argued that five drilling oil-rigs operated by SEEPCO and its drilling arm in Kwale and Warri, Delta State, had been in operation for many years, but the management denied the workers their rights to unionise.
The NUPENG president said rather that follow the path of decency and global best practices, management of the firms resorted to high-handedness and violence through the use of military officers and armed militia to forcibly evacuate about the 2,500 employees from five drilling rigs.
A communique issued at the end of the parley, based on the agreement reached between the oil firms and the union read in part: “Aftet extensive deliberation on the matter, the Ministry of Labour and Employment directed SEEPCO Management to ensure that all 3rd Party Contractors irrespective of the contract status should comply with the provision of the Law on workers’ unionization, deduction and remittance of Check-of-Dues.
“The timely intervention equally nullified the earlier plan by NUPENG to mobilize its members to kick off nationwide solidarity industrial action if armed military personnel fail to withdraw from the oil fields in Kwale, where workers were sacked and forcefully evicted for belonging to the union, an action which has been described alien to extant rules and conventions guiding industrial matters.
“The meeting agreed that no worker shall be victimized as a result of the industrial action.’’ the communique added.
Apart from the Minister and NUPENG President, others who attended the extensive deliberation were Director, Trade Union Services and Industrial Relations Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mrs. Omoabie Udeme Akpan, NUPENG Deputy General Secretary in charge of Operations, Olawale Afolabi, SEEPCO General Manager, Human Resources/ Internal Relations, Dr. Chris Offokansi, and BOGEL Business Development Manager, Biju Alex.
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