By Dipo Olowookere
An impasse between ExxonMobil and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has led to the closure of the company’s Lagos headquarters.
The union is protesting the sack of Nigerian workers by the American oil giant. Members of PENGASSAN stormed the Lagos office of the firm accusing the management of disregarding laid down procedures in disengaging the affected workers.
According to the union, ExxonMobil humiliated the employees by serving them sack letters when all avenues to achieve a peaceful resolution were yet to be explored.
Chairman of the ExxonMobil Branch of PENGASAN, Mr Paul Eboigbe, who addressed newsmen, noted that the company went ahead to issue sack letters to worker, while negotiations were still going on.
Mr Eboigbe emphasised that the union had to resist the action of the management and went ahead to shut down the ExxonMobil headquarters. He further said the company’s workers at offshore locations have been directed to shut down rigs.
But the Manager, Media and Communications of ExxonMobil, Mr Oge Udeagha, said the company was always evaluating its operations.
He noted that the company was working hard to ensure the issues were resolved and that the affected workers were paid.
Mr Udeagha said, “We invest for the long-term and focus on maintaining a stable, well-developed workforce and are committed to treating our employees with respect in accordance with applicable rules and regulations.
“This is a limited programme that will impact a relatively small fraction of employees.
“Special benefits specifically introduced for this purpose will be paid to affected employees, consistent with existing labour agreements.
“The company is also arranging special programme to support the transition from the company for those affected.
“We respect the rights of our workforce and will continue to engage with them to resolve this situation.”
It would be recalled that a similar issue occurred on Wednesday in Upkenekang Community in Akwa Ibom, where angry youths disrupted operations of the company over the sacking of contract workers from the area.
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