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Cablegate: Nigeria: Nupeng Joins Department of Petroleum

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS LAGOS 000363

SIPDIS


PARIS FOR OECA/IEA


E.O. 12598: N/A
TAGS: ELAB ENRG EFIN EPET PGOV NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: NUPENG JOINS DEPARTMENT OF PETROLEUM
RESOURES STRIKE AS TALKS BEGIN


REF: (A) LAGOS 332, (B) LAGOS 344


1. (U) As part of a solidarity agreement between the two
major oil workers' unions, members of the Department of
Petroleum Resources (DPR) branch of the National Union of
Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) joined a strike
organized by DPR members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas
Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN). Despite
the walkout by approximately 600 NUPENG members employed by
DPR, NUPENG General Secretary Joseph Akinlaja said there are
no plans to call for a union-wide national strike, adding
that NUPENG is "not interested in punishing people over
government negligence."


2. (U) Two separate meetings were held on Wednesday,
February 19, to discuss issues involving unpaid salaries and
DPR autonomy. In Lagos, DPR Director Macaulay Ofurhie met
with workers and promised to pay all wages and allowances
outstanding before the end of February. However,
discussions in Abuja between PENGASSAN and GON officials
regarding DPR autonomy remain deadlocked. NUPENG will join
the discussions when talks resume on Thursday, February 20.
Labor and Productivity Minister, Alhaji Musa Gwadabe, and
Special Presidential Advisor on Petroleum, Alhaji Rilwanu
Lukman, will head the GON delegation at Thursday's meeting.


3. (U) PENGASSAN insists that the strike will continue
until the National Assembly moves forward with legislation
granting autonomy to DPR. If Thursday's talks fail, hope of
an early resolution could rest on Friday's meeting between
PENGASSAN and the Petroleum and Energy Committee of the
National Assembly. General Secretary of PENGASSAN, Kenneth
Narebor, told journalists yesterday that Friday's meeting
will determine future action. He said the union "cannot
just call off the strike without any meaningful achievement,
because we are not ready to embark on the process again".
Narebor said PENGASSAN has decided to suspend further
actions "that will escalate the already tensed situation
until Friday's meeting with the National Assembly Committee
on Energy."


4. (U) Comment: Although the GON will probably fall short
on PENGASSAN's demands, the National Assembly will probably
accelerate its review of DPR's demand for autonomy. DPR's
promise to pay outstanding salaries and a "good faith"
effort by the National Assembly to consider autonomy could
end the work stoppage. However, PENGASSAN's reluctance to
request that its entire membership join in a sympathy strike
despite an expired 72-hour ultimatum, demonstrates the
union's reported efforts to resolve the dispute without
creating a major industry-wide crisis. U.S. oil companies
have reported no reduction in operations stemming from the
strike. One source said his company has met all scheduled
loadings for its crude oil exports since the beginning of
the DPR walkout, and a relatively small-volume operator also
reports no disruption in processing whatsoever. End Comment.


HINSON-JONES

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