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Oil Workers Threaten Strike Over Sack Of Over 3,000

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The Two Major Unions In Nigeria’s Oil And Gas Sector Are Threatening To Down Tools If The Mass Retrenchment In The Sector Continues Unabated.

The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, on Wednesday gave the federal government a 21-day ultimatum to halt the sackings which they said had affected over 3,000 oil workers.

Igwe Achese, National President of NUPENG, while addressing journalists at the union’s meeting in Delta State said that government must be proactive to avoid grounding the industry.

He named oil companies that have so far retrenched workers to include: Chevron Nigeria Limited, ExxonMobil, Pan Ocean, Saipem, and Hercules oil and gas limited, among others, apparently due to the current economic recession in the country.

He said: “More than 3,000 of our members are affected.

“Chevron alone is about 1,500; Mobil is about 1,000; the entire workers of Hercules Oil & Gas are being asked to go home; Pan Ocean has since closed shop and is gone. Industry-wide everybody is being asked to go.

“We are now asking ourselves, where are we heading with the industry? We have lost so much of Nigerian personnel working in the oil and gas industry.

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“What is happening in Nigeria cannot be compared to what is happening in other African countries. We want government to wake up and address some of these issues.”

Achese said if government failed to act and direct the oil companies to stop these ongoing retrenchments of their members in the sector, they would be compelled to act to protect their interest.

“It is painful to say as I address you, Chevron has wound up in the East and their offices closed. A total of 1,500 workers were sacked without their entitlements. Nobody is saying anything about it. As we speak, many companies have left and many others are winding up to go.

“The Federal Government should act fast to avert further loss of jobs. There is too much redundancy in the oil industry, which needs urgent action from government to salvage the situation,” Mr. Achese said.

It has been a tough period for the Nigerian oil and gas sector following the drastic drop in the global price of crude oil, as well as the resurgence of militant activities in the Niger Delta which has seen oil installations destroyed by aggrieved youths in the region.

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