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Neconde lawyer writes PENGASSAN, faults ultimatum

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Counsel to Neconde Energy Limited, Uchechukwu Val Obi (SAN) has faulted the seven-day ultimatum given by oil workers to the Federal Government asking the company to recall its sacked staff or risk industrial action.

In a letter to the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), he argued that the ultimatum was made in bad faith and with a view to overreaching the pending proceedings at the National Industrial Court (NIC).

He recalled that in the Suit Number NICN/LA/268/2017 between Neconde Energy Limited & Anor. Vs. PENGASSAN & Ors, Justice O. A. Obaseki-Osaghae had on June 5, 2017 ordered that none of the parties should take any action that would lead to a break down of law and order pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.

The letter dated December 8, 2017 and addressed to President, General Secretary and Zonal Chairman, Francis Johnson, Lumumba Okugbara and Abel Agar – respectively, Obi, who is the Managing Partner of Alliance Law Firm, reminded the union leaders that disputes involving Neconde and its staff members affiliated to PENGASSAN had received the best consideration of Neconde.

The consideration, he said, led to a binding communiqué that was signed between Neconde and PENGASSAN in May 2017, adding that he informed PENGASSAN that Neconde had fully complied with the terms of the communiqué.

He drew the union’s attention to their letter of December 7, 2017 addressed to the National Executive Committee (NEC) members of PENGASAN in which it gave a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government and its relevant agencies of the association’s intention to embark on a nationwide strike effective December 18, 2017 if Neconde failed to recall its sacked staff.

Obi reminded the union that the right of Neconde, as an employer of labour to hire and fire personnel is within its legal rights as aptly pronounced by the Supreme Court in the case of Chukwumah Vs. Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) (1993) 4 NWLR (Pt. 289) where the apex Court held that an employer has the right to terminate its employee’s employment for good reason, bad reason or no reason at all”.

The law copied the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources; Minister for Labour and Productivity; Director-General State Security Service; the Inspector General of Police (IGP); President Muhammadu Buhari, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Chief Registrar of NIC.


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