The plea by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) not to embark on strike may have fell on deaf ears as the union said there was no going back on the planned industrial action.
Recalled, NNPC on Monday through its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ohi Alegbe, appealed for calm, saying that the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) had given a 12-month widow for the corporation to comply with the Pension Reform Act 2014 as amended.
Statement said PENCOM had earlier directed the Corporation to “immediately take all necessary steps to transit to the Contributory Pension Scheme under the PRA”.
It said, “The NNPC Pension Fund has demonstrated its capacity to manage the Scheme successfully by managing pension assets of over N250 billion for over eight years and maintaining an excellent record of administering and paying over 9000 retirees as and when due,” therefore “called on members of the public not to engage in panic buying assuring further that plans are on top gear to address the situation.”
Nevertheless, PENGASSAN has said that it will continue with its strike action until NNPC shows commitment to address the issues.
According to the PENGASSAN Media and Information Officer, Babatunde Oke, the strike will continue until there is concrete commitment from the NNPC management to find a lasting solution to the issues.
The workers demanded for an adequate and regular funding of the closed pension system, immediate steps to carry out turn around maintenance (TAM) on the four refineries as agreed between government and the two unions, NUPENG and PENGASSAN, and restoration of crude supply to the refineries.
The PENGASSAN’s spokesman added that the issue has gone beyond granting of a one year grace to the NNPC by PENCOM, adding that the NNPC management should put in place machinery that will automatically fund the pension system without any bureaucratic bottle neck.