Journalism of Courage

Sack of 39 oil workers: NUPENG, Valiant resolve months-long industrial crisis

...workers' severance package settled in a DPR-brokered agreement


The several months of industrial faceoff between the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and VALIANT Energy Services West Africa Ltd, an indigenous offshore drilling company, has been resolved, reports PerSecondnews.

VALIANT had in 2020 laid off 39 oil workers following the global downturn in the oil industry and series of lockdown occasioned by Coronavirus pandemic.

It was gathered that after series of deliberations with NUPENG, an agreement was reached in October 2020 between Valiant and NUPENG over the payment of terminal benefits to the workers.

The resolution of the industrial crisis was confirmed by a communique signed and made available by the Commercial Manager of VALIANT, Mr Yele Fafowora.

It said Valiant had met all obligations of the agreement and paid in full all outstanding severance benefits due to the NUPENG members.

In spite of this, NUPENG at the time, still expressed dissatisfaction with VALIANT on matters outside the provisions of the agreement, which had been fully met by VALIANT.

Rather than acknowledge the resolution of all matters with the payment of all outstanding monies, the impasse between them lingered.

However, a virtual reconciliation meeting brokered by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) was held on January 19, 2021 where all the grievances were heard by all parties and were amicably resolved.

“NUPENG further acknowledged receipt, in full, of all outstanding severance benefits from VALIANT due to its members, the disengaged workers.

“The management of VALIANT and NUPENG both agreed that the whole matter was regrettable but there was a collective resolve to work together in peace and harmony,” the communique states.

Commenting on the development, Mr Williams Akporeha, representing NUPENG, said dialogue remained the best option to dispute resolution and expressed the hope of a better and smoother working relationship between the labour and VALIANT in the future.

VALIANT, on its part, restated its unflinching commitment to the welfare of its workforce.

“VALIANT has the reputation of a responsible corporate entity that has held the welfare of its staff in high regard, always performing its statutory staff obligations in a timely manner.

“The relationship had always been cordial until this recent challenge. These disengaged members of staff are some of the best hands across the industry but the incident happened in response to the pandemic. We can’t fault anybody for that.

“Our work environment and culture at VALIANT have always been great, and I’m sure, if given the opportunity again, every laid off staff would love to re-join the company,” it added.

Witnesses to the reconciliatory meeting were Akporeha and Fafowora, while Mrs Joyce Odafe-Atebe, representing DPR, also signed the communique.

VALIANT provides services to International Oil Companies (IOC), drilling wells in various water depths across multiple energy hubs.

Over the last three years, the company has successfully drilled 16 offshore wells for some of the largest IOC’s with a 100% Nigerian crew.

Valiant continues is a strong advocate for local content in the Oil and Gas Industry by giving opportunities to capable Nigerians and organising training programs to broaden the skills and competencies of the local workforce.

VALIANT is a 100 percent Nigerian owned multi-oil services platform established in 2013. Behind it is a Nigerian management team with more than 25 years of expertise in oil and gas operations in Nigeria, the Gulf of Guinea and the Mauritania-Senegal-Gambia-Bissau-Conarky (MSGBC) Basin.

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