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NUPENG, PENGASSAN threaten strike over sacked Chevron contract workers

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• We have no contract with dismissed workers, says firm 

The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have threatened to shut down the country’s oil and gas industry over what they claimed as Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL)’s anti-labour practices.
  
The bodies, jointly called NUPENGASSAN, in a letter to the oil firm, stated that they had watched with concern the anti-labour posture of the management of CNL and the labour contract companies providing services to the company.
  
It said the union was particularly disturbed by the arbitrary and unlawful disengagement of three Nigerian workers, Bukola Sola-Adebawo, James Ukachukwu and John Ayeni, allegedly at the behest of CNL management.

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NUPENGASSAN said it had issued Chevron a 14-day notice to reinstate the dismissed workers in their letter dated May 20, failing which it said it would take all steps deemed necessary to protect the rights of the affected workers.
  
According to the unions, while the notice had expired, CNL and the contractors had refused to reinstate the workers as demanded. It stated that the inhumane treatment meted out to the affected Nigerian workers was antithetical to all applicable laws of the country as well as other international laws that guide employment and the protection of rights of workers.
 
The union said: “As a union we are greatly disturbed by the disregard for due process in the termination of the jobs of these Nigerians, and we are uncomfortable watching while workers’ rights are trampled upon by CNL and her contracting companies.”
    
The oil workers bemoaned management’s refusal to give adequate mandate to her labour contract companies negotiating collective bargaining agreements for manpower contract workers and alleged refusal of CNL management to allow contract workers to use the staff buses among others.
  
NUPENGASSAN alleged that there were plans to casualise and move the present maintenance labour contract personnel to a service contract on reduced pay which too is determined by the new service contractors and called for compensation for ergonomic tools.
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The workers said that CNL through her labour contract companies has directed labour contract personnel working from home to provide receipts for ergonomic chairs and tables for them to be compensated with N70,000, while the chair is $1,250 in the market.

“Therefore, we are demanding unconditional N150,000 flat payment to all affected labour contract personnel working from home as compensation for ergonomic tools required to safely work from home,” the memo stated.
 
The JEC stated: “It has exhausted her patience over the issues and hopes that management will take the urgently needed steps to avert the looming industrial crisis as no further notice will be given.” 
   
A statement by its General Manager (Policy, Government and Public Affairs), Chevron, Esimaje Brikinn, denied complicity in the decision of its third-party contractors to disengage the affected workers. He said the oil firm was already in talks with the union.
  
Chevron said: “Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), operator of the joint venture between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and CNL (NNPC/CNL JV), confirms that it has received a notice of threat to embark on industrial action (notice) jointly signed by officials of the CNL Branch of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN). The Notice is in respect of some alleged unresolved industrial relations issues, including termination of employment of some employees of independent, a third-party contractor by their employers.”

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