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Oil firms, MAN decry production disruption by unions


Frank Jacobs, MAN President

Unionists say picketing is a means to protect workers

Multinational oil companies and manufacturing firms have condemned the incessant disruption of oil and gas production through industrial actions embarked upon by unionists in Nigeria.

Operators, who spoke exclusively with The Guardian, said Nigeria is losing so much in foreign exchange to consistent production disruptions by organised labour in the oil and gas sector.

They said the recent interruptions by the organised labour, which resulted into forceful shutdown of over 600,000 barrels of crude oil production from indigenous and international operators, might have resulted to a loss of $28.8 million (N8.8 billion).

For weeks, international oil companies (IOCs), such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and Eni subsidiary Agip had their operations shut down in the Niger Delta by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) to protest against sack of 150 employees, out of which 82 were members of the union.

The indigenous oil firms were not also spared as PENGASSAN interrupted operations at Nestoil Head Office in Lagos over a disagreement with its E&P sister company, Neconde Energy Limited, which operates from Warri, Delta State.

Also, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) says that incessant disruption of their production by leaders of organised labour “is making us to run at a loss.”

According to them, as much as trade unions made significant contributions to the development of employee-employer relationship in the world over, as the case was in Nigeria in the past two to three decades, the various associations are now forgetting their remit and the limit of their powers.

President, MAN, Dr. Frank Udemba Jacobs, noted that conventionally, labour disputes usually occur from time to time and the standard practice is for management to proactively minimise their occurrence and ensure prompt resolution whenever they occur.

Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) President, Bobboi Kagaima, said picketing was not to harm anyone but to protect the interest of Nigerian workers, which led to shutting down of adamant companies.He said as long as we are concerned, employers should respect the agreement reached to avoid picketing and also should respect the rights of their workers.

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