The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers has threatened to begin a three-day warning strike on January 9, 2017, against the anti-labour practice of the International Oil Companies.
The South-West chairman of the union, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the warning strike was inevitable because all other options had failed.
Korodo stated, “We are not gaining anything by going on strike because it is not a joyful thing but as a union, we have to protect and fight for the welfare of our members.
“We have sensitised the public and also seek the intervention of the Federal Government on the anti-labour activities of the IOCs against our members but we are not getting results.
“Our members that put in their best within the time they worked were not paid their severance packages by their employers after they sacked them. This is a big slap and it will not be allowed.
“What they are practising here in Nigeria, they cannot practise in their countries; so, that is why we say enough is enough.”
The chairman explained that the reason for the planned warning strike was inherited from the previous administration, adding that some of the issues arose during the term of the incumbent government.
“Two hundred and fifty members of our union members were affected by the divestment by Chevron Nigeria Limited in the South-East. And this is giving us a serious concern because they cannot feed their families.
“The Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige, asked all parties to maintain the status-quo ante and we complied because we respect the authorities, but the IOCs seem to be above the law or more powerful than the government; they failed to maintain the status-quo ante which was amicably agreed on by both parties.”
Korodo added, “The minister said Chevron had to pay the sacked workers but its management refused to comply.
“It got to a time when Ngige called for a meeting in Abuja to mediate; at times, its (firm) representatives would not show up.”
He alleged that all other IOCs in the country were involved in these anti-labour practices.
“We do not want the public to see the strike as if we are unnecessarily punishing Nigerians. That’s why we are using this period to protest by asking tanker drivers to hang green leaves on their trucks and our members to wear red cloth.
“By next year, if our grievances are not addressed within this period, we will proceed on a three-day warning strike.
“If the government and people concerned are not able to resolve it, we may be forced to turn the strike into an indefinite one,” he said.