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Group vows to disrupt oil firm’s operations over alleged lopsided employment, sack policies


Oil workers, member sof PENGASSAN. Photo: naij

Oil workers, member sof PENGASSAN. Photo: naij

A DELTA State-based group, Kombot Employment Front in Egbema and Gbaramatu Kingdoms, has threatened to disrupt operations of Chevron Oil Company over alleged lopsided employment policies and refusal to recall a sacked member of their community, Timi Okeoghene, despite interventions from the National Assembly and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity that he be recalled.

Few days ago, the group staged a protest to the premises of Chevron in Wari Delta state where they disrupted activities there for several hours but suspended the protest after the company agreed to meet with the youths over their demands.

The group in a statement signed by its President and Secretary, Yabrade Moses and Asoki Victor respectively and made available to The Guardian yesterday, said previous meetings in the past with representatives of the group, elders of the communities and other interest groups where the company agreed to revisit the sack of Okeoghene and agreements on its employment policies were not implemented, saying: “But this time around, if the issues raised during this protest (reinstatement of Okirika Timmy Okeoghene and other employment issues) are not adequately and favourably addressed at the proposed meeting, Kombot will have no other option but to take the protest to the flow-stations and Chevron facilities in our domain to correct this grave injustice against our brother in particular and the community in general.”

Also, members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) may be heading for another industrial action against the management of Chevron over the company’s refusal to reconsider the disengagement of Okeoghene and two others.

Speaking on the matter on telephone with The Guardian, Branch Chairman of Chevron, Mr. Frank Esanubi, confirmed the development, saying: “We have been on the part of dialogue to see that this issue is resolved amicably. We are hoping that the company will comply with the directive from the National Assembly and the Ministry of Labour but in the event that it fails and degenerates into industrial action, they should not hold anybody responsible for it.”

It would recalled that the Clerk of the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa, in a letter to the Managing Director of the company dated October 9, 2013 with reference number NASS/CNA/105/Vol. 18/240 recommended, among others, that Timi be reinstated and paid his outstanding financial benefits while on the case of Gilbert, it recommended that the company “temper justice with mercy and reconsider the case as Prince Dateme Gilbert had no fraudulent intent in his action.”

Also, a letter from the Ministry of Labour and Productivity signed by Mrs. M.O. Ike dated November 19, 2014 with reference number MLHB/7884/T/324, said it adopted the recommendations of the National Assembly on the matter and went further to say that it observed “some loopholes in the documents used by the management” to sanction the member of staff and recommended a review.

And in an open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan dated March 2, 2015, the affected members of staff said their plea for the President’s intervention is hinged on the fact that the Federal Government has a majority share of 60 per cent in the Joint Venture (JV) agreement with Chevron and that the Federal Government to the ministry and National Assembly has oversight functions on the company, adding that if the situation remains as it is, could lead to a nation-wide industrial action.

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