Yesterday, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (Nupeng) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (Pengassan) shut the NNPC offices following the by minister of state for petroleum Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu that he would revamp the corporation. Mr Kachikwu had revealed plans to unbundle the NNPC as part of a restructuring that will see it split into five divisions.
His move, which was introduced without consulting the union, led to the call for an immediate strike. Fearful that it would cripple the sector and lead to long petrol queues, the minister quickly moved to assure the unions that he will meet with them to address their concerns.
Given the assurances provided by Mr Kachikwu, the unions have now resolved to work with the NNPC as long as its workers are not affected in the unbundling. One NNPC source confirmed that the unions have agreed to shelve their strike after a long meeting with the minister.
He added: “The meeting ended just after 4:30am and had in attendance unions that had kicked against the unbundling. We believe that with this development, the queues will end.”
A spokesman for the unions added: “The general executive councils of Nupeng and Pengassan had a marathon meeting with the minister of state for petroleum and the NNPC’s top management for several hours, ending this morning at 4.30am on the on-going industrial action. After exhaustive deliberations, a resolution was signed by the two parties and in view of that, the industrial action is hereby suspended."
Yesterday, the nationwide scarcity of petrol worsened as oil workers embarked on a full-scale industrial action, which led to the shutdown of the corporate headquarters of the NNPC in Abuja as well product depots, mega filling stations and other critical facilities. This was in direct response to the announcement on Tuesday evening by Mr Kachikwu that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the restructuring of the NNPC into seven new divisions, comprising 20 subsidiaries.