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The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have threatened to shut down the country over a labour dispute involving Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) management and the staff.

The warning was contained in a joint statement at the weekend by Comrade Lumumba Okugbawa, PENGASSAN General Secretary and Comrade Adamu Song, NUPENG General Secretary.

It lamented the ways and manners the Chevron Management is executing the end of M15 and H15 Contracts with “hidden plans and intentions to unilaterally and heinously sack thousands of contract workers inspite of the ongoing intervention of Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment as well as the established Labour Contract Staffing Guidelines in the oil and gas industry”.

“While Chevron had decided to close M-15 and H-15 contracts by 31st October, 2018, it is really disturbing to see the new Contractors being engaged by Chevron Management and whose Labour Contract will take effect on November 1, 2018, to start advertising all jobs, inspite of clear provision for “roll over” of the existing workers on the jobs, consequent upon which large numbers of the current workforce are most likely to be abruptly thrown into the Labour market in their own country.

“Without mincing words, we are deeply bothered by the purported claims being peddled around by Chevron Management that their action of sacking Nigerian workers is a directive from National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPPIMS) and the Nigeria Contents Monitoring and Development Board (NCMDB). We then begin to wonder if the role of these reputable government agencies is to create jobs for Nigerians or to compound unemployment situation as already prevalent in the country.

“At this juncture, we are further constrained to notify the general public that NUPENG and PENGASSAN will not hesitate to embark on nationwide industrial action on this matter and we have already placed our members on red alert should the Management of Chevron remains recalcitrant or adamant to rescind its anti-labour decision which is grossly injurious to Nigerian workers who are oil and gas workers and by extension the nation’s”.

Meanwhile, the Group Managing Director (GMD), NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru, has urged oil workers to halt their planned strike.

Baru made the appeal in a statement by NNPC’s Group Public Affairs Manager, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in Abuja on Sunday.

The GMD, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, said he had directed the management to work with other stakeholders to resolve the issues raised by the leadership of the unions.

He appealed to the unions not to do anything, “that would disrupt the industrial harmony that had pervaded the sector”.

NNPC also allayed concerns of petroleum product consumers over possible hiccups in supply in parts of the country due to the workers’ ultimatum.

It gave the assurance that the corporation had “adequate storage of petroleum products across the country to take care of the national demand”.