18 May 2017

Nigeria: Pengassan Pickets Neconde Energy Over Workers' Welfare

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has disrupted the operations of Neconde Energy Limited over its anti-labour practices.

The workers picketed the company over alleged breach of agreements to pay the workers transfer and severance benefits.Meanwhile, the management of Neconde said it had enjoyed good labour relations with the workers, urging the union to embrace union practices by exploring negotiation and collaboration.

The workers alleged that the company had agreed to review their severance benefits, field allowance and transfer benefits within 13 days from February 23, 2017.

The union added that the company has no evidence of Tax clearance certificate of remittance of Employees' Tax (PAYE) to the Lagos and Delta states governments since 2012.

The employees of NECONDE, who are members of PENGASSAN, besieged the office of the oil firm, protesting the relocating of workers against labour laws.The workers, numbering over 500, barricaded entry points to the company with cars, leaves and placards bearing different inscriptions.

Chairman of the Lagos State Branch of PENGASSAN, Abel Agarin said that the agreement was reached after the workers complained about the permanent transfer of some of their members to its Warri office in view of a restructuring exercise.

He pointed out that the proposal the company made on the transfer and severance benefits was significantly different from industry standards and far lower than what was offered in previous engagement with the company's representatives.

"After several verbal and written internal agitations, the communication on transfer and severance/terminal benefits was eventually sent to the employees on Monday, April 10, 2017, without negotiations with the association.

"The Lagos zonal office immediately wrote the Chairman of Neconde on Tuesday, April 11, 2017, stating clearly that management's position on the matter was not in line with industry standards. It demanded for an urgent meeting on Wednesday, April 12, 2017," he added.

He however, pointed out that management ignored the association by not acknowledging receipt of the letter and failed to meet with any of the union's officers at the branch, zonal or national level."

But the management of Neconde through its Corporate Communications Manager, Segun Fafore said the management had enjoyed cooperation with the workers, urging the union to explore negotiation and collaboration.

"We are currently in talks with the leadership of PENGASSAN to ensure that we reach a mutually beneficial agreement on some of the demands presented by the association.

"As of Monday, May 15, 2017, the management had provided the association with an update and called for a meeting to discuss the remaining potential areas that may still exist," Fafore stated.

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