he national leadership of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Association (PENGASSAN) on Thursday accused Chevron Nigeria’s management of unilaterally sacking thousands of contract workers in defiance of established labour laws.
But, the oil firm in a response on Friday, rejected allegations its management did anything illegal outside established standard procedures and requirements by the regulatory and monitoring authorities.
The two oil industry unions said in a statement sent to newsmen they were becoming extremely worried and concerned with the manner Chevron’s management was executing some of its contracts.
The statement, signed by PENGASSAN general secretary, Lumumba Okugbawa, and his NUPENG counterpart, Adamu Song, said the decision end the contracts was “laced with hidden plans and intentions to unilaterally and heinously sack.|
They said the purported sack of the contract workers was in spite of ongoing intervention of federal ministry of labour and employment as well as the established Labour Contract Staffing Guidelines in the oil and gas industry.
The two oil workers’ unions said although Chevron has decided to close M-15 and H-15 contracts by October 31, 2018, it was disturbing to see the new contractors being engaged and their labour contract scheduled to take off on November 1, 2018.
Already they said the company has started advertising all jobs, in spite of clear provision for “roll over” of the existing workers on the jobs.
The oil workers said the likely outcome of the decision would be that large numbers of the current workforce would most likely to be abruptly thrown into the labour market in their own country.
“The leaderships of the two Unions in the oil and gas industry see such arrangement as cruel, callous and by all standards an affront on the Nigerian constituted authority and industry extant rules,” the statement said.
“Without sounding immodest, it has now become quite glaring that Chevron Management is flippantly overstretching the good intentions of the Unions (NUPENG & PENGASSAN – NUPENGASSAN) to entrench peaceful and harmonious industrial relations, particularly at a critical time like this when the country is approaching an election year.
The unions said they were “deeply bothered” by alleged claims by Chevron’s management that their action of sacking Nigerian workers was a directive from National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) and the Nigeria Contents Monitoring and Development Board (NCMDB).
Questioning the roles of the NAPIMS and NCMDB, the oil workers wondered if they were established to create jobs for Nigerians or to compound unemployment situation as already prevalent in the country.
They appealed to the National Asembly, Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Department of State Services (DSS), and other relevant authorities to prevail on Chevron Nigeria Limited to exercise restraint and engage in peaceful transition into new contract circle by strictly following established guidelines that provide for ‘roll over’’ of workers.
It warned the general public that NUPENG and PENGASSAN would not hesitate to embark on nationwide industrial action on the matter if Chevron’s management would not reconsider their position.
“We have already placed our members on red alert should the management of Chevron remains recalcitrant or adamant to rescind its anti-labour decision which is grossly injurious to Nigerian workers who are oil and gas workers and by extension the nation’s economy,” the statement said.
In its response to enquiry on the allegations, CNL, through its general manager, policy, government and public affairs, Esimaje Brikinn, confirmed its existing contracts on all its manpower services providers would expire by end of October 2018.
Brikinn said the company has since commenced the process to replace the affected contracts in accordance with stipulated procedures.
“Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), Operator of the NNPC/CNL Joint Venture, confirms the existing contracts of all its manpower services providers will expire by end of October, 2018,” Brikinn said.
“The expiring contracts are being replaced with new manpower services contracts, which have been awarded in accordance with the open tender process conducted by the NNPC/CNL Joint Venture in accordance with its standard procedures and requirements,” he added.
He said the requirements were set out by both the NAPIMS, a subsidiary of NNPC in charge of management of investments in the oil industry, and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), the government agency in charge of monitoring compliance with the provisions of the Nigerian content policy in the petroleum industry.
While confirming the company was already executing the contracts with the successful contractors from the tender process, CNL reiterated its commitment to support the economic development of the country through its strategic investments and economic development programmes.