Nigeria’s major oil sector unions say that they will shut down oil production facilities belonging to Chevron to protest the transnational’s plans to shed twenty-five per cent of its workforce within the country.
Chevron had announced plans to sack 1000 of its workers in Nigeria where it operates under a joint-venture arrangement with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and maintains onshore and offshore assets in the Niger Delta region. The company also operates and has a 55 percent interest in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 140.
The influential National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), provided Lagos Times newspaper with a statement signed by NUPENG’S President, Williams Akporeha, and Festus Osifo, head of PENGASSAN.
The unions said: “We have directed our members in Chevron to withdraw their services. We also call on the Federal Government to call Chevron Management to order, otherwise we can no longer guarantee industrial peace in the oil and gas sector.
“Here is our fatherland and we have a labour law that regulates the activities of organisations in Nigeria; this law cannot be breached; We must follow the process.”
The duo alleged that Chevron management on Independence Day, notified about 2,000 of its employees that their services were no longer required.
Both leaders also alleged that the Chevron management had asked those employees who were still interested in working with them to submit new applications.
“This development runs contrary to Nigeria’s laws regulating the Oil and Gas industry as it does not protect our national interest.
“This is an imperialist agenda that must not be allowed to stay; most especially as we have just finished celebrating our 60th independence as a sovereign country,” the duo said.
In a response, Chevron’s General Manager Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Esimaje Brikinn, said the welfare and safety of its workforce was one of its highest priorities.
Brikinn said: “Making changes to the organisation is never easy for anyone that will be impacted, but it is to improve our ability to remain competitive in Nigeria.
“Reducing the cost and improving the efficiency of our operations are critical to generating more revenues for the Federal Government of Nigeria,” he said.
Chevron also has extensive interests in multipartner deepwater operations. The company operates the Agbami Field, one of Nigeria’s largest deepwater discoveries. It also has an interest in the Usan Field.