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Cablegate: Nigeria: Agreement Reached On Oil Rig Hostage

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

UNCLAS ABUJA 000813

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC ASEC EPET ENRG ECON PINS PGOV NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: AGREEMENT REACHED ON OIL RIG HOSTAGE
CRISIS


REF: A. ABUJA 810
B. ABUJA 807
C. ABUJA 806
D. ABUJA 768


1. National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers
(NUPENG) local and national leadership on May 3 agreed
unconditionally that all 273 hostages and 99 striking workers
on board the four Transocean Forex Sedco rigs near Port
Harcourt would be allowed to disembark. The Settlement was
negotiated by Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) President Adams
Oshiomhole, who was the real hero in this crisis. Oshiomole
said the local NUPENG leadership had been in communication
with the striking workers on the rig, and they had agreed to
comply. Managing Director of Transocean Sedco Forex Ian
Clark, who did not participate in the negotiations but was
allowed to state his company's position as the session
opened, also confirmed to the Ambassador on May 3 that an
agreement had been reached and all persons on board the rigs
would be offloaded by ship and helicopter over the next few
days. Some would disembark this evening, but it would
probably be Sunday before all were on land, Clark added.


2. In informing the Ambassador about the agreement,
Oshiomhole emphasized that the company made no concessions in
the negotiations and that in coming days, talks between the
company and NUPENG and NLC representatives might occur at a
place of the company's choosing. Oshiomhole further stressed
that making concessions would have set a bad precedent for
industrial relations in the country and insisted that had
there been concessions, other workers would seek to use
similar tactics in the future. Clark, meanwhile, said that
the priority now was to get people off the rigs and that the
striking workers would be dealt with next week.


3. Clark said that he was enormously appreciative of Embassy
efforts in helping to resolve the crisis. In particular, he
was grateful for our efforts to involve President Obasanjo as
well as NLC President Oshiomhole whose efforts he said were
key to resolution of the crisis. Comment: We will continue to
monitor the situation over the weekend to ensure that the
agreement is actually implemented. End Comment.


4. The following is the text of the agreement:


(Begin Text)
COMMUNIQUE OF MEETING BETWEEN THE
MANAGEMENT OF TRANS OCEAN, NUPENG AND
PENGASSAN BROKERED BY THE
NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS ON
2ND OF MAY 2003


Following the intervention of the Nigeria Labour Congress
(NLC) and under its auspices, the management of Trans Ocean,
the national secretariats and local chapter of NUPENG and
PENGASSAN met over the ongoing industrial action on some of
the operational sites of the company.


It was agreed by all parties that the industrial action be
suspended immediately and the rigs be vacated forthwith to
pave way for the restoration of normalcy in their operations.


The meeting also agreed that the national leadership of the
NLC, NUPENG and PENGASSAN would further assist the parties to
immediately evolve a framework of dialogue to deal with the
concerns of the management and the workers in a mutually
acceptable manner.


Management of Trans Ocean and the unions expressed
appreciation for the intervention of the NLC.


Signed:
Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, President, NLC
Ian Clark, Managing Director, Trans Ocean
Peter Akpatason, President, NUPENG
L.B. Ogbeifun, President, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior
Staff Association (PENGASSAN)
Salvation Akpaghoro, NUPENG, Transocean Branch
Uzomah Samuel, PENGASSAN, Transocean Branch


Witnessed by:
S.A. Ajibola, Federal Ministry of Labor and Employment
Austin Ezenwaka
Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation
(End Text)
JETER

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