NUPENG Threatens Strike Over Sack Of 154 Members By Chevron
Fresh crisis is imminent in the nation’s oil industry as the National Union of Petroluem and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), on Saturday, served a notice of strike over the sack of its members by Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL).
Already, the oil workers’ union had issued a seven-day ultimatum to the management of CNL to recall the sacked members. The union threatened to embark on strike at the end of the deadline.
The union said the strike would start in five states, Delta, Edo, Ondo, Kogi and Ekiti, before it spreads to the rest of the country.
NUPENG’s Warri Zonal Chairman, Cogent Ojobor, told newsmen at the end of a cruial meeting of the union in Warri, Delta State, on Saturday, that 154 members of the association have been “unjustifiably disengaged by the management of Chevron.”
He accused the management of the oil company of undue harassment of its members, adding that the deadline would expire on July 7.
He lamented that the union had exhausted all peaceful means of resolving the impasse.
To this end, he warned that “activities in the Warri Refinery, filling stations, loading depots, PTI, and all other oil facilities in the affected states will be shut down. There will be no going back until our demands are met by CNL. The seven-day notice is expected to kick-off on Monday 30th June 2014 (today) and our actions will thereafter affect Delta, Edo, Ondo, Kogi and Ekiti states.”
He said that the union had held several meetings with Chevron at the Federal Ministry of Labour. “But their statement, which I know is a lie, is that they have been told by NAPIMS and Ministry of Labour to downsize,” Ojobor said.
The management of the CNL recently ordered oil workers who have served the company for 25 years and above to proceed on early retirement as parts of the restructuring to cut operational costs and flush out ageing workers.
Also asked to embark on early retirement were workers, who had just about five years to remain in the service of the oil conglomerate. The exercise cut across all cadres of the organisation.
The exercise, Leadership learnt, was designed to eliminate workers, who no longer add vaule to the company and replace them with fresh and youthful workforce.
The initiative was tagged “Voluntary Service Disengagement Package, (VSDP).
Under the VSDP initiative, the company, however, introduced juicy and attractive packages to entice the workers to opt for early disengagement from office.
Among other things, the company offered to pay all the entitlements of the affected workers, including their five year’s salary upfront.
It was gathered that the management decided to enforce the order following the refusal of the workers to embrace the offer at the end of March.