By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, weekend in Geneva, Switzerland, warned of impending fresh industrial unrest in the nation’s oil industry, over alleged plan by Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL, to sack no fewer than 500 of its members, noting that oganised labour would not accept such job loss under any guise.
Briefing journalists at the International Labour Conference , ILC, in Geneva, Switzerland, PENGASSAN’s President, Francis Johnson, said: “We have a case at hand now where Chevron through HM15, is trying to lay off about 500 of our members. Prayer sessions had already been held. We are also sensitising you now that crisis is looming. So, we must put our heads together to see how we can avert this.”
On plans by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB and the Oil Producers Trade Section, OPTS, to reduce the long contracting cycle in the nation’s oil and gas sector, Johnson said that PENGASSAN and its Nigeria Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, had already rejected such move but would be holding further meetings upon their return to Nigeria.
He said, “If you are going to formulate policies, we are stakeholders, there is need for us to sit down and discuss so that instead of us being reactive, we will be proactive and see how we can also avert the crisis because we know the volatility of the oil and gas sector.
“If we decide that we are shutting down, we know the repercussions, the effect, there will be queues, crisis and uncertainties. But we also don’t want that to happen. So we saw the publication that NCDMB, OPTS, Minister of State for Petroleum have taken a decision about contract staffing and we issued a statement that it is not going to be acceptable.
“By God’s grace, when we go back, NUPENG and PENGASSAN, we will meet. If you are going to take any action that you know is going to affect our members, what’s wrong in calling us together, for us to look at it together. And its unfortunate that most of these things are being done by the Nigerian counterpart. The essence of local content act was to allow Nigerians to take over the industry.”