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Nigeria: Shell – Pengassan Threatens Mass Action

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Nigeria: Shell – Pengassan Threatens Mass Action

This Day (Lagos)
 

Patrick Ugeh
Abuja

Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) yesterday warned that, it would mobilise the 15,000 workforce in the oil and gas industry for a prolonged mass action against Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) if it should go ahead with its plan to sack 2000 of its 7000 workers.

The National President of the union, Comrade Babatunde Ogun, told journalists in Abuja that the international oil company had no right to sack so many of its Nigerian staff, whereas expatriates would still retain their jobs, since Nigeria is the senior partner in the Joint Venture (JV) contracts that sustain the SPDC in Nigeria.

Ogun however noted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with a 55percent control stake in the JV with SPDC, has sided with labour.

He said that it intended to keep a symbiotic relationship with the Federal Government towards the sustainable growth of the country, adding however that it would only be on condition that government truly respects the rule of law and the rights of oil workers. If the Federal Government sits by the side and watch Shell sack 2000 Nigerians because of some flimsy reasons, then government should be ready with what 15,000 oil workers will do in reaction, he said.

“I am glad to note that the NNPC has made it clear, that since it controls the majority share in the Joint Venture, only staff of Shell who have reached retirement age, or are on their willing to leave, should do so.”

He added: With this assertion, we want to make it clear that any of our member in Shell who is given a sack letter on account of One Shell, should protest through his local chapter of PENGASSAN which will forward it to us at the National Secretariat for immediate action.

The union leader said Shell’s excuse of citing insecurity in the Niger Delta, and their drive to cut cost in production was not tenable. If that was the case, he wondered, Why is Shell not pulling out of the Niger Delta completely? Why is Shell not sacking its expatriates staff that constitute a greater cost? Who does not know that the cost of oil production in Nigeria is low compared to other areas?”

He said the rule of engagement between the new PENGASSAN leadership and government would be one, which fosters the growth of the oil and gas industry and the sustenance of the Nigerian economy.

“I don’t see why the JV will only be in the upstream. We are going to encourage government to force these JV partners to also go into the downstream. We want a situation where before the end of the tenure of the present government, there will be four new refineries. It takes just about two years to build a medium size one,” he said.

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