By Victor Ahiuma-Young
WORKERS of Mobil Producing Nigeria, MPN, yesterday, began a three-day warning strike over capital flight, indiscriminate retrenchment of Nigerians and replacement of same with expatriates, breach of agreement reached with the management in December 2016, among others.
The workers, on the platform of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, claimed that the management had been avoiding further meetings, but had been using security operatives to harass and intimidate union leaders.
The union lamented that even as the issue of 83 staff retrenched last December was yet to be resolved despite the intervention of the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, the manage-ment was planning to sack over 90 staff.
Meanwhile, Exxon-Mobil disclosed in an e-mail that “the matters you raised have been the subject of several reports since December 2016. Our company’s policy concerning employee conduct specifically prohibits the use of threats of harm or violence in the workplace.
“We remain committed to the safety of our personnel and security of our facilities.”
Vice Chairman and Secretary of MPN unit of PENGASSAN, Gbenga Ekundayo and George Olumoroti, respectively, at a congress of members in Lagos, claimed as part of the capital flight agenda, the management had introduced what it called “functionalisation,” where certain critical jobs and information had been transferred abroad and set up “skill centre” there.
According to them, “if you call for vital information, the services are rendered based on what is known as ‘time costing’. At the end, the cost is determined in dollars and transferred to Nigeria as part of the overhead cost.
“As at today, Security department, logistics, Engineering, procurement among others, are now headed by expatriates after relieving Nigerians off their duties. The so-called expatriates are paid six times higher than the Nigerians thereby increasing the overhead cost.
“The practice is after retrenchment, where half of the retrenched staff are replaced with expatriates, others are recalled as contract staff.”