Conocophillips Outright Sales: Oil Workers Threaten Strike Over Labour Issues
Oil workers, under the auspices of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have threatened that the refusal of ConocoPhillips management to settle all labour issues especially payment of severance package and sales bonus before outright sale of its oil blocks in Nigeria can fast track its already planned shutting down of the oil and gas industry due to divestment by oil companies in the industry.
They also warned Oando Nigeria Plc, the prospective buyer of the oil blocks not to venture into conclusion of acquisition process until ConocoPhillips finally and conclusively settles all labour issues.
The workers added that Oando should be ready to settle all liabilities, including labour issues especially payment of severance package and sales bonus to Nigeria national working in ConocoPhillips if Oando goes ahead to conclude the acquisition of the oil blocks.
According to a statement by the National Public Relations Officer of PENGASSAN, Comrade Seyi Gambo, the union is ready to use all mechanisms within the ambits of the law to ensure that ConocoPhillips respects the extant labour laws and other international conventions regarding severance of employees.
He stated that the union is aware that ConocoPhillips will be completing the process of outright sales of its operations in Nigeria to Oando in the next one or two months and that the company will be approaching the Minister of Petroleum Resources and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for approval for the sales of the oil blocks to Oando next week.
The union also noted that all expatriates in the employment of ConocoPhillips in Nigeria have been settled and redeployed to the company’s operations in other countries, while the Nigeria nationals are neglected.
“The Minister of Petroleum Resources and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) should not grant the approval unless the management of ConocoPhillips engages PENGASSAN on severance of its members before concluding the sales so as not to plunge the buyer, Oando Nigeria Plc, into industrial crisis.
“We are not saying that ConocoPhillips cannot sell their properties or investments in Nigeria, all we are saying is that the company should engage PENGASSAN so as to discuss the severance package and sales bonus of our members in that company.
“We have made several efforts to ensure that the management of ConocoPhillips come to table for discussion but they have refused to engage the union. Even the company refused to honour the invitation of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Ministry of Labour and Productivity. ConocoPhillips also bluntly refused to yield to the call of the 13-Man Committee set up by the Federal Government to look into various industrial issues affecting the oil and gas industry,” he said.
The union said that letters have been sent to the Presidency, Federal Ministers of Petroleum Resources and his Labour and Productivity counterpart, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources, the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and other stakeholders on the evil intention of management of ConocoPhillips to shortchange its Nigerian workers in the outright sale of its oil blocks in Nigeria.
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