By Emma Amaize
ASABA – FITTERS Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, FSSAN, an affiliate of United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, has alleged that Ashtavinayak Hydrocarbon Limited, a subsidiary of Sterling Oil Corporation and Energy Production kept out Nigerian fitters from the Sterling Global ongoing Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG project at Kwale, Delta State.
General Secretary, FISSAN, Mr. Morrister Idibra in separate letters dated July 12, 17, August 6 and 12 to the Managing Directors, Sterling Oil and Ashtavinayak Hydrocarbon Limited, Deputy President of Senate and Commissioner for Oil Gas, Delta State, alleged that of the 50 fitters working on the project site, only one is a Nigerian.
An official contacted by Vanguard on Thursday, said, “I am not mandated to speak to you officially, but I can tell you that the allegation against our company is not true.”
FISSAN in a July 17 letter to the Managing directors, Sterling Oil and Ashtavinayak, entitled, “Breach of Nigerian Content Act over the Employment of Fitters: Need for an Urgent Meeting,” asserted, “We are aware of your operation in Delta State, especially the LPG project that is ongoing at Ogume Road, Kwale in Delta State. Our findings reveal that your technical men are foreigners, who have completed the erection of some tanks and more are to be constructed, including other piping work.”
“It might interest you to know that our union parades over 10,000 qualified fitters, who can handle any project with little or on supervision.
“We are aware that over 50 fitters are presently on site out which only one is a Nigerian, we are also aware of management plans to bring more foreigners despite the fact that there are qualified Nigerians. This is an invitation to crisis, which we all must work to avoid.
“Our union has written series of letters to the company for a meeting to see how we can be employed, but no response.
“The situation has become bad because we cannot gain access to the yard because of the large presence of security guarding these foreigners and any protest we stage though in line with labour laws, is always branded as militants and criminals.
“Sir, we are appealing to you to help our union and other Nigerians get employment in jobs taking place here. It is most unfair that Nigerians are unemployed in jobs they are qualified and willing to do, while foreigners have field day harvest,” the union stated.
In its up-to-the-minute letters to the Deputy Senate President and Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Delta state, FISSAN said, “The main fabrication has been done in India, which in itself is wrong because fitters and other professionals ought to be part of it since the installation is taking place in Nigeria.”
“Now, the fabricated components brought are been installed by only foreigners, about five tanks have been erected by same foreigners,” the association added.