The Federal Government has asked all oil firms who recently sacked their workers to recall them.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, gave the order in Abuja on Wednesday, during a meeting with the Petroleum Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and representatives of some oil firms.
Giving the order, Dr. Ngige made it clear that Nigeria would not tolerate indiscriminate sack of workers, notwithstanding the economic situation, adding that one of the cardinal objectives of the present administration is to create jobs.
It would be recalled that the Management of Universal Energy Ltd was alleged to have sacked 20 of the 22 NUPENG members in the company in preference to contract workers, which the union had kicked against.
Again, the unions had also accused a company, FUGRO Nig. Ltd, of sacking its members and coercing them to sign severance letters and unilaterally terminating 25 members of staff out of which six are executive members of PENGASSA and NUPENG.
The unions also claimed that Halliburton threatened to reduce its workforce.
Addressing the issues the minister said:
“After a long deliberation, we resolved all the contentious issues. FUGRO Nigeria Limited has to revert to the status quo and open up discussions on the redundancy situation with the unions. They have a time limit of two weeks to report back to the ministry.”
“Universal Energy also has to revert to the status quo; meaning that the retrenched staff members have to return to work. They are expected to open up fresh redundancy talks to be monitored by the South-South Zone of the Ministry of Labour in Uyo, and give us a feedback within two weeks.”
He also added that: “The oil majors, international and indigenous, should resist the disproportionate reduction of their corporate social responsibilities to their workers in reaction to low returns; the workers should be engaged. Let’s slice the allowances, especially at the top, and retain the jobs.”