Oil Workers Threaten Strike


The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) on Tuesday urged management of Phillips Oil Company Nigeria Ltd. (ConocoPhillips), an upstream operator, not to sack Nigerian workers.

Rev. Folorunso Oginni, Chairman of Lagos State Chapter of PENGASSAN, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos over the company’s plan to sack Nigerian workers.

He said that all the workers would not hesitate to embark on a nationwide strike if the company sacked any of its Nigerian workers.

Oginni said that the union had received a letter from ConocoPhillips on its plan to sack majority of Nigerian workers in the company and described the step as “unjust and unprocedural.”

He said the company claimed that it had received the consent of the Minister of Labour and Productivity to carry out the exercise.

“If urgent action is not taken to avert the situation by the Minster of Labour and Productivity, all our members in the upstream producing company will embark on indefinite industrial action,” Oginni said.

The unionist said that the company had successfully transferred nine jobs being handled by qualified and competent Nigerians to their offices in the U.S and Europe in the last two years.

Oginni said that the management of the company attempted to sack 34 out of 43 Nigerian employees in 2008.

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“Though, the company shows to government agencies that it has only five expatriates working for it, but it actually has 26 expatriates that are working and paid from the Nigerian operations,” he said.

Oginni alleged that on monthly basis, the company flew in expatriates to do ad hoc jobs which Nigerians could do.

“We call on the Federal Government to call management of ConocoPhillips to order and ensure that they follow the stipulated regulatory guidelines and procedures in the disengagement of staff in the oil and gas industry,” he said.

When contacted on phone, Mr. Andy Jarot, Managing Director of ConocoPhillips, said, “we don’t discuss our labour matters with the press.”

“ The employment issue in our company is strictly internal. We don’t want anybody to intrude into the matter.

“Please, I am in a meeting, I cannot speak more that what I have told you, Good day,” Jarot said.


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