By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, has taken up arms against Total E&P and Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, over unpaid benefits to members of the union by Valiant Energy Services, a service contractor to both multinational oil companies.
The union is threatening to declare industrial action against the two international oil companies, IOCs, should they fail to compel Valiant Energy Services members their terminal benefits after their unprocedural and wrongful sack since 2019.
In a statement by its President and General Secretary, Prince Williams Akporeha and Afolabi Olawale, respectively, NUPENG argued that the affected “workers provided services to Total E&P and SHELL Petroleum Nigeria under Valiant Energy Services.
“We are seriously disturbed and disappointed that these two multinational oil companies have remained silent and unconcerned to the continued evasiveness of owner of Valiant Energy West Africa from his responsibility to pay the terminal benefits of these workers despite all our letters and press releases.
“NUPENG is pained to draw the attention of the general public to the fact that precisely July 9, the union simultaneously picketed the company’s facilities both in Lagos and Port Harcourt, but unfortunately the owner of the Valiant Energy has refused to fulfill his constitutional obligations to the sacked workers.
“The union finds it appalling that despite this development, Shell Nigeria Limited and Total E&P still continue to patronise Valiant Energy West Africa without recourse to the plight of the sacked workers who have been out of jobs since October 28, 2019.
“We call on the global community to be fully aware of the plight of the affected workers.
“NUPENG is, however, using this veritable medium to call on the management of Shell Nigeria Limited and Total E&P to, as a matter of urgency, bring him out and prove to the world that they are not aiding and abetting criminality and illegality in the oil and gas industry.
“Whilst we take into cognizance the sensitive nature of this unfolding crisis and the collateral damage it could have on the country’s economy, having realised the recalcitrance attitude of the management of Valiant Energy Services, which is capable of plunging the nation into industrial disharmony, it becomes necessary for all concerned parties not to treat this matter with levity.
“Consequently, we implore all relevant stakeholders in the industry including the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR; Group Managing Director, GMD, of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC; the Ministry of Labour and Employment; Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigeria Police; Department of State Services, DSS, and others, to live up to their responsibilities by compelling Valiant Energy Services to pay the terminal benefits of the affected workers which is already taking longer than necessary.
“NUPENG should no longer be blamed for any industrial actions our members may deem fit to express their grievances over the actions of the owner and management of Valiant Energy Service and collaborators.”