Oil Export Threatened As ExxonMobil workers Embark On Strike

Oil Export Threatened As ExxonMobil workers Embark On Strike

The export of crude oil from Nigeria has come under threat as workers at U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil Corp have gone on strike in protest over the sacking of workers.

The Chairman of Lagos Zone of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nige­ria (PENGASSAN) Mr. Abel Aga­rin, disclosed this while leading a picketing of ExxonMobil on Thurs­day in Lagos.

He said the union have begun gradual withdrawal of its mem­bers from oil and gas installations belonging to ExxonMobil in the country.

He explained that members of his union were on strike in protest at the sacking of 150 workers in December. He said 82 were PEN­GASSAN members.

He said strikes were being held in Lagos, Bonny, Akwa Ibom and Port Harcourt.

Members of PENGASSAN on Wednesday began a three-day warning strike to protest the re­fusal of ExxonMobil management to honour an industrial relations agreement.

The agreement was reached dur­ing a tripartite meeting with the se­nior staff union and the Ministry of Labour and Productivity in De­cember 2016.

According to him, “PENGAS­SAN members have begun gradu­al withdrawal from oil and gas in­stallations belonging to Mobil in Nigeria.

“Members in the loading bay at Best Operations Platform (BOP), where crude oil is being loaded have been withdrawn, while those in Erha and Ushan FPSO will join by midnight today (yesterday). Those in the Bonny River Termi­nal will also join by midnight.

“The withdrawal of our mem­bers in Qua Iboe Terminal with about 14 locations will be the final shut down which will end by Fri­ day midnight,’’ Agarin said.

The zonal chairman said that other International Oil Companies (IOCs) such as Chevron, Shell, Ad­dax, Total and Agip and indigenous oil companies would join by Friday.

He said that the union was mo­bilising its members in Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agen­cy (PPPRA), Petroleum Equalisa­tion Fund (PEF), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS).

According to him, the agree­ment brokered by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige and the management of Exx­onMobil agreed to review the sack of 83 employees in December 2016.

Agarin added that the man­agement agreed that none of the workers that participated in a pro­test in December would be sanc­tioned.

“Without honouring the agree­ment, the management suspended other union leaders in the compa­ny that took part in the Decem­ber protest.

“The company has no respect for constituted authority of the land, as represented by the Min­ister of Labour and Productivity.

“The management disobeyed the law and authority of Nige­ria which is not acceptable to us,” Agarin said.

When contacted, Mr Oge Udeagha, ExxonMobil Media Manager denied the allegation that they failed to honour the agreement reached with Minister of Labour.

Udeagha said that the man­agement was in compliance with the Nigerian Oil and Gas Indus­try Content Act and other laws that govern utilisation of expatri­ate employees.

“Our workforce is 95 per cent Nigerian and we remain commit­ted to the safety of our personnel and security of our facilities,” he said.

The ExxonMobil spokesper­son added that the company poli­cy concerning employee conduct specifically prohibited the use of threats or violence in the work­place.

Mobil is currently one of the largest oil producing company in Nigeria with about 660,000 bar­rel per day (bpd). (NAN/ Reuters)

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