By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Chairman of the South-West zone of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Mr Tokunbo Korodo, has disclosed that the union would embark on a three-day nationwide warning strike from Monday, January 9, 2017.
The strike, according to Mr Korodo, is to kick against the anti-labour practice of International Oil Companies (IOCs).
Speaking in Lagos, the union leader noted that the warning strike was inevitable because all other options had failed.
“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 sought the intervention of the Federal Government over the anti-labour activities of the IOCs on our members but we are not getting results.
“Our members that put in their best within the duration of time they worked were not paid their severance packages by their employers when they sacked them,” he said.
Speaking further, Mr Korodo lamented that, “250 members of our union were affected by the divestment by Chevron Nigeria Ltd., in the South-East and this is giving us a serious concern because they cannot feed their families.”
According to him, Minister of Labour, Mr Chris Ngige, had asked all parties to maintain the status quo ante and was adhered to as a show of respect for authority, but said the IOCs seem to be above the law or more powerful than the government.
“They failed to maintain the status-quo ante being amicably agreed to both parties. Chevron had to tell our 250 members that their contract with it was no more binding on it because it cannot trace the company that employed them as contract workers for it.
“The minister said that 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 representatives would not show up.
“We would risk our lives and resources to Abuja, no IOCs member would come. Even when their representatives came, they would be those without a mandate to represent the organization just to frustrate the discussion,” he said.
He urged members of the public not “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 apprehend and resolve it, we may be forced to turn the strike into an indefinite one.”
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