04 January 2013, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, has deplored alleged deployment of armed soldiers and other security operatives to Chevron installations in Escravos, Warri, PortHarcourt and other locations over the ongoing industrial dispute with the union, warning that the deployment could worsen the already tense situation.
The union claimed the armed soldiers and other security operatives had been given order to shoot contract staff who are members of the union at sight to deny the 1700 workers access to Chevron installations where they were working.
NUPENG in a statement by it’s Acting General Secretary, Comrade Isaac Aberare, called the Chief of Army Staff and the Inspector General of Police, to call their men to order and not be used to settle industrial relations matter, which could throw the entire petroleum industry into crisis.
According to the statement, “NUPENG is worried about the sudden deployment of soldiers and other security agencies by Chevron to its installations in Escravos ,Warri, Portharcourt and other locations with the order to shoot at sight over plans to deny all the contract workers access to its installations. The union warns that the flooding of Chevron installations with soldiers and denial of over 1700 contract workers access to these installations may lead to a serious industrial relations crisis that will not augur well for the oil and gasindustry, if any of them is harmed.”
“ We state that the discussions of the end of contract of the Big 6 in Chevron, especially on the labour related issues is still on-going and co-ordinated by the Group Executive Director, Corporate Services of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. The brokered talks on the labour related issues was to have been completed on December, 31st 2012 but agreement had not been reached. The union reiterates that it submitted a proposal for transition discussion which started on December18th, 2012 and with the intervention of NNPC discussions were held on December 27th and 28th with no agreement reached.”
The union said it “frowns at the sudden deployment of troops to Chevron installations,when a follow-up meeting has been scheduled for January 7th 2013 in Abuja. This action of Chevron is uncalled for, when agreement on labour related issues have not been concluded. The union advises Chevron management to have faith in the discussions brokered by the NNPC and should therefore put any action on hold, like denying the contract workers access to its installations and wait for the outcome of the January 7th 2013 meeting in Abuja to resolve the impasse.”