It seems oil workers in Nigeria relish the use of strike action at every form of provocation. Probably to project that air of arrogance from their relevance to the national economy. Or how can one explain that Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, (NUPENG), last Thursday issued a seven-day nationwide strike notice over what they call “unprocedural sack of members by Chevron Nigeria Limited and its service contractors”.
Elevating an internal labour issue to national relevance, The union in its statement, lamented that no fewer than 175 members working in YKISH Integrated Services for the offsite/onsite maintenance services with Chevron Nigeria Limited, Delog Nigeria Ltd and EUROFLOW Services, (all service contractors to Chevron Nigeria Ltd), were sacked through WhatsApp messages to their respective mobile telephones.
It creates great discomfiture that the President and General Secretary, Prince Williams Akporeha and Afolabi Olawale, are demanding the immediate reinstatement of staff in private companies within seven days, failing which members will down tools and begin a nationwide strike.
The statement said NUPENG was disturbed and pained over alleged flagrant disrespect for the extant labour laws by Chevron Nigeria Ltd and its contractors to the extent that the employment of these workers was terminated via WhatsApp messages.
Among others, the statement read in part “We wish to emphasize that this lack of respect and sensitivity to Nigerian extant labour law, international conventions and global best practices is gradually becoming the stock in trade for Chevron Nigeria Limited and its various contractors as there are still several other lingering infractions and issues against workers yet to be addressed.
“Consequently, we are calling on the general public, the media and all concerned authorities in-country and the industry including Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, National Assembly, law enforcement agents and the Embassy of the United States of America to call Chevron and its service contractor(s) to order on these matters to avert avoidable industrial action from the Union.