The Federal Government has promised that it will not cut down the staff strength of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
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 labour union leaders of the sector during a meeting with them in Abuja on Wednesday evening.
Speaking at a joint press conference organised by the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, the National Chairman, NUPENGASSAN, and Deputy President, Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Achese Igwe, said some concessions were reached at the meeting which the unions held with the petroleum minister.
He said participants at the meeting discussed the imminent sack in the NNPC and the oil sector, ongoing concessions and various reforms in the industry.
Achese 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 petroleum minister that workers will not be sacked at the NNPC, Achese said, “One of the concrete assurance 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 NNPC? The entire staff strength of NNPC today is not up 5,000 as the case maybe, and you are talking about these organisations that came after you or almost 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 union is known for.”