25 August 2015, Lagos – Two groups of contract workers with the Chevron Nigeria Limited have protested against the non-payment of their “terminal dues” by the company at the expiration of their previous contracts.
While a group agitated that they were not fully paid their benefits when Chevron terminated their contract in 2012 and transited them to another company, the other group members lamented that they were not paid “a dime” when their five-year contract elapsed in March, 2015.
The workers, under the aegis of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, besieged the company’s premises on Monday.
They also protested against the “compulsory retirement” of their colleagues, whose contract was reportedly terminated on the grounds of age.
Some of them, who spoke with PUNCH Metro, said the protest would continue until the management acceded to their demands.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the protest was also being held in Chevron firms across the country, including Port Harcourt, Warri and Escravos.
The Chairman of the groups, Mr. Leonard Ugwu, said a communiqué was drawn by the Ministry of Labour and Productivity in Abuja, but the company refused to comply with the terms reached.
He described the company’s working conditions as “unfavourable”, adding that the development had affected his members negatively.
“We had six labour companies contracted to Chevron. But in 2012, the management decided to do away with these companies and replace them with 16 other companies. Actually the management paid us, but the payment was not made according to the collective agreement we had then.
“There are some of us who have worked for between 15 and 30 years. We went to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity and there was a communiqué, but it was not obeyed by the management.
“They also retired some workers compulsorily, which is more of termination because they are contract workers. These people were given contracts for three or four years when they know they were 59-year-old. And the following year, they retired them. Why did they employ them when they know they would be retired a year after?”
“The other group comprises those whose contracts were terminated after five years without being paid their terminal dues. As I speak with you, all the Chevron offices in Lagos, Escravos, Port Harcourt and Warri, among others, are down and it will remain so until these issues are addressed.”
Another affected worker, Mr. Segun Odukoya, said Chevron was not committed to the agreement but rather came up with a resolution which allegedly fell short of what was contained in the communiqué.
He said, “It is high time the management stopped being deceitful. We are being short-changed. In the oil and gas sector, there is what is called end of contract payment benefit which has to be fully paid. But they are shying away from it. A communique was drawn, but they felt what they could do now is draw out a resolution from labour to which we are saying no because we believe it was doctored.”
Kazim Geffrey, said he had not been paid his terminal dues after Chevron transited him from Logistics Facility Affair to Nerine Service Limited.
“They (Chevron) contracted us from LFA in 2010 and terminated the contract in March this year. We have been transited to a new agent, Nerine. What we are demanding is the payment for the termination of our five-year contract. But they are saying there is no agreement,” he said.
Chevron External Communication Coordinator, Mr. Kayode Adeboye, promised to get back to our correspondent on Tuesday (today).
He said, “I am not the spokesperson for the company. We will get you information on the issue and respond within 24 hours.”