By Victor Ahiuma-Young & Prince Okafor
INDICATIONS emerged yesterday that the Federal Government had waded into the lingering dispute between management of ExxonMobil and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, to avert a total shut down of the production.
PENGASSAN had, Tuesday, announced that it had begun a gradual withdrawal of its members from oil and gas installations belonging to Mobil and that the process would be completed by midnight today.
Vanguard gathered that a meeting was being pushed for today’s evening, but that leaders of PENGASSAN that are scattered across the country would not be able to turn up for the proposed meeting.
An official of PENGASSAN who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity, said: “The only possible time for the meeting will be Monday. We have been under intense pressure not to escalate the industrial action which ordinarily is fixed for midnight, Friday. The aim of the strike is to achieve result not to cripple the nation’s oil production. Once the result is achieved, there is no need to go beyond where we are.”
Meanwhile, the company has put some measures in place to ensure that critical services are not disrupted by the industrial action.
Investigations showed that personnel have been mobilised to offshore production platforms and loading terminals to guarantee production and export.
A company source who confirmed the development indicated that adequate security had also been put in place to ensure their safety at work.
According to the source: “The company is not unmindful of the possible threat to sustainable operations. Consequently, it has mobilised many workers to production and export locations to ensure that operations are not affected. These workers are very safe because many policemen and other security agencies have also been deployed to protect them at work. It should be noted that the company attaches much importance to the safety of its workers. The strike has not affected and is not likely to affect output as a result of the proactive measure the company adopted to mitigate possible impact of the strike.”
Nigerian workers at Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, a subsidiary of United States’ Exxon Mobil Corporation, embarked on strike, Tuesday, protesting alleged indiscriminate sack of workers and non-compliance of the company to Nigeria Content Act, among others.