Oil workers under the auspices of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), have called off their strike with immediate effect.
The unions said they have now resolved to work with the NNPC as long as its workers were not affected in the unbundling.
The oil workers had on Wednesday embarked on an indefinite strike, shutting down all offices and facilities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, nationwide in protest of Tuesday’s splitting of the state oil company by the federal government.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, had announced on Tuesday that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the immediate splitting of the NNPC into seven independent operational divisions.
He said five of the seven operational units will be strictly business-focused in line with global best practices of national oil companies and the new units would include those for Upstream, Downstream, Gas and Power, Refineries, Ventures, Corporate Planning and Services, and Finance and Accounts.
Following his announcement, oil workers embarked on a nationwide strike to protest the splitting of the corperation by the federal government.
The workers under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) said they were not consulted before decision of the unbundling exercise was taken, thus, it is unacceptable to them.
They criticized the minister’s handling of the exercise, accusing him of having a secret agenda by taking a “unilateral and arbitrary decision” without consulting with all interested parties and vowed to continue their strike until they receive clarifications regarding Tuesday’s splitting of the NNPC.
The minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, came out to explain that the government did not split the Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) but that what it simply did was reorganization.
NNPC has not been unbundled in the sense of breaking up NNPC into distinct institutions, but what has been done is simply reorganization.
There is also Ventures that capture all our little companies that were not having proper stewardship. They are run by individuals who report to the GMD. The NNPC is still a whole. There is nothing new that has happened.
The minister then promised to have a meeting with the workers where they will be made to understand properly what the Federal government meant and to resolve the issues .
Confirming the new development, an NNPC source said the union called off the strike this morning after a long meeting with the minister that ended at about 4:30am.
He also said that with this development, the queues at the filling stations will definitely end.
We hope so.