Nigerians may have to go through another fuel crisis soon should the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) go ahead with its threat of shutting down operation in the downstream sector in protest against the alleged violation of agreement with Chevron Nigeria Limited.
The union yesterday issued seven-day ultimatum to the management of Chevron to correct all the anomalies or face industrial action by the union.
Its President, William Akporeha, and General Secretary, Afolabi Olawale, said in a statement that the leadership of NUPENG would like to alert the public and all relevant authorities to the violation of agreement between Chevron Nigeria Limited Company and the unions in the industry.
“It is a public knowledge that the unions in the oil and gas industry had a protracted negotiation with Chevron Nigeria Limited on 70 per cent manpower reduction which they (Chevron) claimed was required in view of the so -called reduction in their operations in the Nigeria oil and gas Industry.
“The unions in the Industry (NUPENG and PENGASSAN) vehemently opposed this unpatriotic and inhumane move in view of the avowed commitment of the unions to the protection of jobs of our members and considering the high level of unemployment in the country which is directly responsible for the heightened insecurity and tensed situation in the country,” they said.
The union said the intervention of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) and Ministry of Labour led to the signing of the agreement after a year of negotiation. But lamented that Chevron started executing the exercise in blatant violation of the agreed terms and has already sacked 500 members of NUPENG, including its executives, an act the union said was done to put NUPENG in bad light or for its extinction as only the NUPENG members have been disengaged from work, leaving behind the non-unionised workers and PENGASSAN members.
“We further learnt that the intention of Chevron is to change the contract to short-term service contract and we see this as unfair and breach of agreement reached with us in bad faith”, the statement added.
The union, however, said the strike could only be averted if its sacked executives are reinstated, the percentage of reduction agreed spread to the three groups as agreed, to avoid creating the impression that NUPENG was the target of the exercise.
It warned that Chevron should not be allowed to use the exercise to change the labour manpower contract to service contract in a disguised manner.
It stated further: “Consequent on the above demand and having been pushed to the wall, NUPENG hereby puts all our members on red alert should Chevron and its contractors fail to honour or comply with our demands within the next seven days, we would also not hesitate to take all necessary legal options available to us; including industrial actions to press home our legitimate demands.”