NUPENG threatens a nationwide strike but lists condition for stable product supply.
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has said that it will call a nationwide strike if the Federal Government fails to pay the 2012 petroleum subsidy arrears.
The president of the union, Igwe Achese, who briefed journalists in Lagos on Monday, said that the continuous delay in the payment of the money impacted negatively on workers in the oil and gas sector.
According to Mr. Achese, the payment of the subsidy arrears will ensure peace and industrial harmony in the country. He also held that it is open to dialogue in order to resolve the issues.
“Government said it had paid about N400 billion as subsidy arrears for 2011 and 2012, and from Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s explanation, N200 billion was paid in excess as subsidy arrears.
“We are worried that there was selective payment as the real depot owners have yet to be paid because their workers are being owed.
“We urge the government to announce the names of those that had been paid the subsidy arrears because those who have investments and employees in the sector have yet to receive any money,’’ Mr. Achese said.
The union president expressed concern about the diversion of crude oil meant for the refineries. He alleged that the crude oil is now being sold in the open market.
“That is why we are calling on government to begin the Turn-Around-Maintenance (TAM) of the refineries, to boost fuel supply in the country,’’ he said.
Mr. Achese also reiterated the need to repair the nation’s roads, especially those in the East-West area, to ensure steady supply of petroleum products.
“We may be forced to stop transporting products on bad roads in the country because petrol and kerosene are volatile products and we cannot continue to expose the people to the risks involved.
“What the country generates from the petroleum sector is enough to take care of our roads and infrastructure,’’ he said.
On casualisation of workers, the union leader condemned the inhumane treatment meted out to workers in some of the Oil and Gas companies.
“We have raised an alarm about what some Nigerians that work for some companies in the sector are suffering. After 25 years of service, they are sacked without pension and paid only one month salary,’’ he said.
Mr. Achese therefore, urged government to take an urgent decision on the issue, to stem the abuse of workers in the oil and gas companies.