The Federal Government has promised not to cut down the number of employees of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
This is coming as labour unions have threatened to storm Imo State today (Friday) for a mass action if the state government fails to reinstate the workers that it recently sacked.
The Federal Government noted that instead of reducing the number of workers at the NNPC, it would expand the operations of the national oil firm in order to make it globally competitive.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, disclosed this to leaders of labour union in the oil and gas sector during a meeting with them in Abuja on Wednesday evening.
Speaking at a joint press conference organised by the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, the National President, NUPENG, and Deputy President, Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Achese Igwe, said some concessions were reached at the meeting.
He said participants at the meeting discussed the imminent sacking in the NNPC and the oil sector, ongoing concessions and various reforms in the industry.
Igwe said, “We are going to vehemently resist any attempt to sack workers. We have advised service companies and multinational firms that are in the act of outsourcing and contracting that this will portend the loss of jobs for Nigerians. We say no to them because that is not what this government is all about.
“The government today talks about job creation and not job losses. With the current economic challenge we are having in our country, we need not to lose jobs that are already created.”
Asked to state specifically if the unions were assured by the minister that workers would not be sacked at the NNPC, Igwe said, “One of the concrete assurances he has given is that there will be no job losses. He has said there will be job security and he is thinking of expanding the business of the NNPC to be a profit organisation, and to also be a world-class oil and gas company like Petrobras, Petronas and the rest of them.
“If you ask me, what is the staff strength of the NNPC and what is the staff strength of Petrobras, Petronas and the rest of them? We are just an inch of the staff strength of these organisations. Most of them have a staff strength of 34,000 personnel, and what is the staff strength of the NNPC? The entire staff strength of the NNPC today is not up to 5,000 as the case maybe, and you are talking about these organisations that came after you or almost at the same time with you.
“We have said clearly and I am speaking as the NUPENGASSAN chairman today, that any attempt to cause job losses in the oil and gas sector, especially at the NNPC, we will definitely react. We will resist it accordingly and we will do it within the framework of what labour unions are known for.”
On plans to invade Imo State, Igwe said an ultimatum, which elapses today (Friday) had been given to the state government to reinstate the sacked workers, adding that failure to comply would result in mass action by labour unions.