Workers in Indorama, former Eleme Petrochemicals Company Limited, have threatened to down tools if the management does not address what they called the poor salary and welfare of staff of the company.
The Tide learnt that for the last three weeks, agitation by workers for improved welfare has been treated by management with a wave of the hand.
The workers, who three weeks ago wore black uniforms to work to demonstrate their rejection of newly approved monthly take home pay, said their patience was running out, and may soon down tools to register their dissatisfaction with the management decision.
But worried by the development, the management of Indorama has intensified lobby of the leaderships of both Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers of Nigeria (NUPENG), as a strategy to muzzle the workers.
A reliable source told The Tide that the leaders of both unions had met at far away Calabar, the Cross River State capital, last week with the management of Indorama in a bid to resolve the issues.
According to our source, last week’s meeting brings to three the number of such meetings without any meaningful agreement on the table.
The Tide gathered that one of the major issues in contention is the disparity in salaries and the poor welfare packages between expatriate and indigenous staff of the company.
It was discovered that while the expatriate staff are paid handsome remunerations, their Nigerian counterparts with better qualifications and technical experience are given paltry sums at the end of every month.
A staff, who pleaded anonymity, told The Tide last week, that this poor salary and welfare issues against the indigenous workers was the major reason why a former managing director of the company was forced to resign following his criticism of the maltreatment and poor remunerations of the Nigerian staff.
The Tide investigations indicate that kidnappers, who abducted some workers of Indorama a few years ago, also gave poor salaries and welfare as well as maltreatment of Nigerian staff of the company as major reasons why they struck.
However, some of the workers, who spoke with The Tide, accused the NUPENG and PENGASSAN executives of conspiring with Indorama management to shortchange them, and threatened to stage a protest this week, should the management fail to heed their calls for improved welfare and enhanced salaries.
When our reporter visited Indorama last week, the worried workers were seen in groups discussing the ugly situation, and perfecting their strategy for the impending industrial action.
The workers, according to one of the union leaders, may block the main gate of the company as a means of stopping others, especially others loyal management, and visitors, from entering the premises.
Attempts to extract official positions of the executives of both unions proved abortive as they were said to be in series of meetings with representatives of the management.
A member of Indorama’s management, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed that there has been a raging disagreement between the workers and the management over salary and welfare issues, but stated that the management was doing everything possible to resolve the imbroglio.
Oil Marketers Urge Buhari To Crash Diesel Price
Petroleum marketers under the platform of Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA) rose from their 2nd National Executive Council (NEC) meeting last week, within a plea to President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make dollars available at official rate to oil marketers.
This, they said, will enable them import diesel, end petrol scarcity, and ultimately save the Nigerian economy from sinking, saying that dollar support should be available till Dangote Refinery comes on stream later in the year.
The association, among others, urged the National Assembly to immediately enact a Bill for the establishment of Energy Bank for easy transaction in petroleum products in the sector.
National President of the Association, Mr Benneth Korie, who briefed the media after the NEC meeting in Abuja, noted that the bulk of the operational challenge peppering marketers and depot owners spring from expensive diesel which hovers around N850/litre.
While thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for approving a higher bridging cost payment to transporters, Korie said the operators’ challenges were far from over as oil marketers and depot owners spend about N20 million weekly on diesel to power their operations, thus eroding their profits.
The association urges the National Assembly to review the policy of taxation as it affects petroleum products supply and distribution chain.
Senate To Honour Brave Petrol Tanker Driver
The Senate has resolved to honour Ejiro Otarigho, the brave tanker driver who drove a burning tanker from danger zone to avert a tragic fire incident in Agbarho, Delta State.
The Senate has also recommended Ejiro to President Muhammadu Buhari for National Honours.
This followed a motion moved by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, and co-sponsored by Senator James Manager and Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, at plenary.
It would be recalled that in a rare act of bravery, Ejiro had last week driven a burning tanker from danger zone to avert what could have been a tragic fire incident in Agbarho, Delta State.
The incident happened last Friday when Ejiro drove the burning truck for 25 minutes from a densely populated area to Agbarho River where the tanker was completely razed in the inferno. The act was captured by onlookers and had gone viral.
Rising under Order 45 and 52 of the Senate Standing Order 2021 (as amended), Senator Omo-Agege stressed that but for Ejiro’s courage, a major fire disaster which would have claimed several lives and property could have happened in his senatorial district.
The Delta Central lawmaker noted that Ejiro’s “extraordinary display of courage, reflex application of special driving skills, and huge risk to his own life, prevented a huge national tragedy and catastrophe by driving a burning tanker loaded with inflammable petroleum products from residential areas to safety so that thousands of our people may not die in an inferno that would also have consumed so much property in Agbarho, Delta State on Friday, June 10, 2022”.
The driver’s audacious act of heroism, he stressed, has saved the nation from national tragedy and mourning.
Accordingly, the Senate resolved to “invite Mr. Ejiro Otarigho to the Chamber of the Senate for public commendation by the President of the Senate, Senator Ibrahim Lawan.
“Recommend Mr. Ejiro Otarigho to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, for a befitting National Honour as Mr. President may deem fit for his extraordinary act of bravery, courage and skill that prevented the loss of human lives and property on a massive scale”.
President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, who presided over plenary, hailed the driver for risking his life to drive the burning truck out of residential area to save lives.
Court Adjourns Worker Vs NLNG Matter To Oct
The National Industrial Court sitting in Port Harcourt, on Thursday, adjourned the matter on the defamation of character and unlawful termination of employment between a contract worker, Tambari Michael, and the Nigeria LNG Limited to October 25, 2022.
The judge, Justice Nelson Ogbuanya, said the adjournment was to enable the new counsel to the claimant, Mecha Mecha Kalu, to study the case before continuing.
Recall that the clamnant, Tambari Michael, a former contract staff of NLNG, had approached the court in 2019 to challenge the termination of his appointment by the Supervisor of NLNG’s Logistics, praying the court to declare the termination of his job as illegal and unlawful third party interference.
Michael in the suit number NICN/ PH/43/2019 claimed that displaying his name and image amongst persons accused to have committed criminal offensCes was defamatory, which, according to him, runs contrary to Section 4 of the NLNG Code of Conduct bordering on harassment.
Defendants in the suit are Nigeria LNG Limited, AUGJ Services Nigeria Ltd (the contracting firm) and Abimbola Ibukunle, the company’s Logistics Supervisor when the services of the claimant were terminated.
Other demands stated by the Claimant in the suit are “Damages be awarded to claimant against 1st defendant (Nigeria LNG Limited) and 3rd defendant (Mrs. Abimbola Ibikunle) for defamatory publication made.
“Damages also to be awarded against 1st and 3rd defendants for unlawful interference upon Mr Tambari Michael’s employment with AUGJ Services (2nd defendant).”
When the matter was called in the court on Thursday, counsel to the claimant, Mecha Mecha Kalu, who appeared in court for the first time, informed the court that he had just taken over the matter as counsel and solicitor to the claimant.
Speaking to newsmen after the court session, counsel to the claimant, Mecha Mecha Kalu expressed confidence that his client will get justice in the court but, counsel to the defendant declined comment.
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