28 July 2016, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — Oil workers have peacefully protested against Baker Hughes Nigeria Limited over alleged threat the company to sack workers for joining the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN.
The protesting workers numbering up to 100 recently barricaded the entrance of the company in Trans Amadi Industrial Layout, Port-Harcourt, chanting solidarity songs and displaying placards.
The leader of the protesters and financial secretary of PENGASSAN, Baker Hughes Branch, Mr. Julius Onwuka, said the company threatened to sack them for unionising.
Onwuka described the working conditions at the company as inhuman and unconducive for workers.
According to him, “We are here to protest the ill-treatment we have been receiving from our management. We are members of PENGASSAN and our management has refused to recognise PENGASSAN and we know that the laws of Nigeria recognise PENGASSAN, and the constitution of this country is clear that there is no restriction to unionism.
“The labour laws are clear, there is no restriction to joining the union, but our company management is saying that we must be sacked before we join a union.”
The protesting workers also advised the company to obey Nigerian labour laws in their dealings.
“The message for them is very simple, they should obey the laws of Nigeria because it is for our collective interest. It is more of an inhuman treatment to us and we have run to PENGASSAN as an umbrella to cover us so that the company can start obeying the laws of Nigeria.
“We have been maltreated and you can imagine for some of us who have worked for over 23 to 25 years, and you just got a phone call from the Human Resources guy telling you that you have been sacked for unionising.”