Just a few days after the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) Workers threatened to embark on a nationwide strike action owing to the laying-off of about 500 workers by Chevron, the union has rescinded the planned strike.
The suspension of the planned strike action was revealed in a statement released on Friday and signed by the Union’s President, Williams Akporeha and the Secretary, Afolabi Olawale. According to NUPENG, the decision to suspend the proposed strike which was earlier billed to begin on Tuesday, August 6, was anchored on the intervention by the NNPC Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari and the management team.
The statements read,“Following the intervention of the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, and his management team to avert the proposed industrial action of NUPENG over the blatant breach of agreement reached with the union by Chevron Nigeria Limited and its contractor and considering the fact that appreciable progress is being made as discussions continue, the union hereby suspends with immediate effect the planned industrial action slated for next week.”
The back story: NUPENG threatened to embark on industrial action over a staffing dispute with Chevron.
- The union accused U.S. oil major Chevron of sacking hundreds of Nigerian workers and altering contracts, both of which were reportedly in violation of the industry agreement.
- The union, in a statement issued on Thursday, made a number of demands which included that all “NUPENG executives” should return to work. The union stated that 500 of its members had been removed from their posts, although it was not clear if they were all executives.
The Intervention: The union further revealed that it had made progress as discussions had continued on the issue before the timely intervention. Although the union had wanted the Federal Government to compel Chevron Nigeria Limited into honouring the agreement reached with the union.
“It should be put on record that this abrupt suspension became inevitable due largely to the timely intervention of NNPC having engaged NUPENG and all concerned stakeholders at two separate meetings on Thursday and Friday to correct the anomalies and ensure that the agreement is respected.
“All our members are directed to step down the red alert message and should continue rendering their normal and lawful services to the nation.”
What next: The union urged the public to avoid panic while assuring that normal supply and distribution of petroleum products will continue nationwide.
- NUPENG also stated that it considered the collateral economic damage the industrial unrest could possibly lead to in the country if not immediately nipped in the bud.
- Meanwhile, the union expressed optimism that the ongoing negotiations between NUPENG, NNPC and Chevron would meet its members’ demands.