Kachikwu to meet PENGASSAN, ExxonMobil today over labour dispute

Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu

Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu

Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu will be meeting with executives of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the management of ExxonMobil today over the lingering face-off between the union and the oil giant regarding the sack of 150 ExxonMobil workers.

The Chairman, ExxonMobil Branch of PENGASAN, Paul Eboigbe, told SHIPS &PORTS DAILY that the meeting today is designed to resolve the crisis, which is already exerting a toll on the operations of the company.

The Lagos headquarters of the United States of America oil major was shut last Thursday when PENGASSAN members besieged it, protesting the sack of Nigerian workers.

The protesters, numbering over 1,000 barricaded entry points to the company with boats, coffins, leaves and placards, having different inscriptions.

Egboigbe said that the management of the company went ahead to issue sack letters to the workers while negotiations were still going on.

He said the union had to resist the action of the management and went ahead to shut down the ExxonMobil headquarters.

He directed the company’s workers at offshore locations to shut down its rigs.

He said the company’s management disregarded laid down procedures and humiliated workers by serving them sack letters when avenues to achieve peaceful resolution were not explored.

When SHIPS & PORTS DAILY asked if the union is willing to accept the N140million severance package per person offered by ExxonMobil, he said, “Some people even reported N360million. We have not got to the level of Naira and kobo. What we want to resolve is whether the severance should be voluntary or involuntary. While we are saying it should be voluntary, the oil company is saying it should be involuntary. The issue of money does not arise yet.”

The South-West Branch Chairman of PENGASSAN, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, said that picketing of ExxonMobil office was as a result of the anti-labour practices of the company.

He urged the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity to investigate the anti-labour practices of International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in Nigeria.