The Federal Government has directed all oil companies to recall all their retrenched citing noncompliance to Section 20 of Redundancy Law.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige gave the directive in Abuja on Friday while answering questions from journalists.
Ngige who appealed to members of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) to shelve their planned strike over alleged sacking of 3,000 of its members by the oil companies, said that the ministry had earlier in the year had several meetings with the employers, leadership of the unions and employees in which an agreement was reached.
He said, “We all had an agreement and the agreement was that instead of retrenchment, they should focus on reducing some of their top most positions of the establishments, we also agreed that some allowances should be shielded up, while some offices of directors and top management staff should be pegged.
“They all agreed and that is what they have been doing, we also formed a kind of forum between the employers, employees and unions with my ministry. The forum is supposed to be meeting to fashion out oil and gas labour relations which will guide whatever is happening there. I do not know if NUPGENG is dissatisfied with what is coming out from that forum.’’
According to him, it could be recalled that both unions submitted petitions against the oil and gas companies which led to marathon meetings held with the employers two months ago.
The Minister explained that the ministry had then convened series of meetings where issues were looked into on companies’ basis to understand why they should not retrench.
He assured of investigating why the companies have decided to retrench their workers without strict compliance to provision of the law.
Ngige further said, “If there are particular companies that have deviated from the agreement we have reached, we will call those companies and ask them to comply and I will equally find out why NUPGENG is issuing the 21-day ultimatum and also call for a meeting to look at the developing issues.”
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