From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The recently disengaged 184 support-staff with the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), on Tuesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari and leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to come to their rescue.
Speaking with newsmen in Kaduna, Chairman, Support Staff, KRPC NUPENG, Abdulfatai Muhammed said, the affected staff have spent between 10-15 years of their productive lives, giving their best to the company.
According to him, “just as at the time the support-staff were expecting their jobs to be regularised having served the Corporation for several years ranging from 10 to 15 years in the production, laboratory and maintenance departments of the Refinery with meager salaries, the disengagement came.
“These are Nigerians who have worked without hazard and medical allowances and made to work under severe and inhumane conditions over the years.
“The disengagement came after they were deprived of participating in the just concluded recruitment exercise by the Cooperation such that the criteria used were not favourable to most of them and in other to pave way for the newly recruits, the exit door was shown to the vast experienced staff.
“Precisely on November 4 and 5, 2019, an oral interview and verification exercise was conducted which rekindled the hope of these hardworking staff that better days were ahead, only to be shocked by the directive from their management that their contract should be terminated with an outrageous and deprived severance package.
“The entire support staff of KRPC is calling on the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the NUPENG to come to our aid at this time when the whole world is ravaged with the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure that our source of livelihood is protected by the virtue of being financial members of the NUPENG and in the spirit of injury to one is injury to all.
“Going by the directive of Mr President that no worker should lose his or her job at this time of this coronavirus pandemic, we were shocked that this important directive from Mr. President was ignored by the company.
“We are also calling on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) and the Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Silva, to use their respected offices to prevail over the action of the management of the NNPC.
Though a letter conveying the termination of engagement of 178 support-staff from Sahabent Nigeria Limited was hinged on
the decision of the management of the NNPC, to rehabilitate the nation’s refineries between 2020 and 2023, informed their disengagement.
But, the affected workers said, the development came to them as a shock at a time the country was battling the ravaging Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and outright disobedience to the Federal Government’s directive against lay-offs amid the lock down.