National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum Tankers Driver (PTD), an affiliate of NUPENG, have mobilised their members within the Western zone for an industrial action any moment from now.
When contacted, the Western Zonal Chairman of NUPENG, Tokunbo Korodo, confirmed the development, saying that the union has concluded plans to begin indefinite strike any moment. â€œWe have mobilised all our members within the zone to down tool because the 14 days ultimatum issued by the union expired on March 12 and our demands are not metâ€, he stressed.
Korodo explained that the union decided to embark on industrial action due to the anti-labour policy of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) in employing Nigerians as contract workers and retrenching them at any slightest provocation without paying their entitlements. â€œIn March 2009, our unit chairman and three others were sacked after working for 16 years in SNEPCo for no justification and their salaries as well as other entitlements have not been paid up till today, â€œ he said.
We decided to dialogue with the company instead of going on strike due to the prevailing fuel scarcity in the country at that time. But our efforts to resolve the matter proved abortive as the company refused to comply with the union.
â€œAlso, in October 2009, 27 contract workers also members of our union, who had served the company between 20 to 27 years, were sacked by the same company without their entitlements.Â On the process of negotiation, the company proposed only one month salary of N25,000 as compensation for each workers, which is a slap on the union and the country as whole.
Makmera Nigeria Limited was the contractor of SNEPCo at that time, but SNEPCo also terminated their contract with Makmera because the company tried to reason with the union. They brought in Motak Investment as their contractor, which is claiming to be new in the system and trying to buy time.
â€œWe are ready to go on indefinite strike, as SNEPCo is not willing to comply with the labour laws of Nigeria . We use this medium to apologise to Nigerians on the impending fuel scarcity that would hit the nation. We can not fold our hands and watch 31 Nigerians treated as slaves in their own nation. The multinational companies no longer employ regular staff.
They exploit Nigerians by employing them as contract workers in order to treat them as slave workers, while they appoint a pay master who gets more money to the detriment of the contract workers.Â We are calling on the government and all stakeholders in the sector to know the true position of things, so that SNEPCo should be blamed for the action that would come out of the strike and not NUPENG. We believe in the effort of the Acting President in trying to ensure that petroleum products are sufficient for consumers, so, SNEPCo should be blamed for the scarcity and not our unionâ€.