20 April 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Following the indefinite strike embarked upon by workers of Addax Petroleum Development Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Addax Petroleum, the company through its spokesperson, Kinglsey Onoyom, has said the management is working to “restore normalcy” to the situation.
Addax workers had on Monday, denied the company’s Senior Vice President/Chief Executive, Mr. Colin Klappa, access to the company’s head office in Lagos.
The strike, which involves 166 members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, and 98 management staff, according to findings, was as a result of expiration of an ultimatum the company’s chapter of the association gave the management under the leadership of Mr. Klappa over “some unresolved burning issues.”
However, in a note to Sweetcrudereports on Thursday, Mr. Onoyom said management of the company had “consistently engaged” with the association on the issues raised through various communication channels.
“Engagements are currently on-going with relevant stakeholders to address the situation and restore normalcy”, the statement read.
Nigeria will lose 30,000 barrels of the company’s crude oil production as a result of the strike.
Addax produces 30,000 barrels of oil from its offshore and onshore locations in the Niger Delta.
The chairman of the local chapter of PENGASSAN, Chris Ogiewonyi, had said the workers had declared an industrial dispute with the management by withdrawing their services “effective April 16, 2018, at 06.00hrs,” via a memo to the company’s Managing Director.
According to Ogiewonyi, workers went on strike after refusal of Addax Petroleum to address the burning issues raised in its March 12, 2018 letter within the time frame indicated.
“The issues were reiterated by the Zonal Council of the Union on March 28, 2018. We notified management of the complete withdrawal of services of members effective 06.00hrs on Monday, April 16, 2018, for an indefinite time period. It is high time the culture of contempt and disdain for the association was stopped.”
The Union Secretary, of the brank, Mr. Gerald Agwu, said the indefinite action was a culmination of a series of failed and inconclusive communications between the workers’ union and the management over alleged “culture of impunity against some of its officials.”
Mr. Agwu listed some of the issues to include alleged unilateral interpretation of the subsisting collective bargaining agreement (CBA) reached between the union and management in August 2014 on issues bordering on activation of non-statutory remunerations to members.
Others included alleged selective, targeted victimisation of union leaders identified as not working in line with management interest; stagnation of some staff for between 10 to 12 years, and discriminatory promotion of workers.
“The agreement (CBA) was jettisoned by the previous management. With the new MD, we thought we should have had a satisfactory resolution of these issues.
“But, we have observed that victimisation of union leaders, punitive transfers, selective performance appraisal and other actions have continued. The present management seems to have sustained the culture of impunity. We feel there has been a systematic attempt targeted at leaders of the association to make union leadership unattractive,” Mr. Agwu said.
Apart from a series of letters by the chapter (March 12, 2018), Zonal (March 28, 2018) and National PENGASSAN on the issues, he said several inconclusive meetings were held with Addax management and the Human Resources (HR) team without any positive outcome.
“We believe the workers are the most valuable assets of the company. We cannot be treated with such levity. All we are asking for is for management to treat the workers right and fairly according to the terms of our collective bargaining agreement reached between workers and management, who are supposed to also be Nigerians. We are not asking for any special favours,” Mr. Agwu lamented.
He said the indefinite strike would affect operations at all Addax Petroleum offshore and onshore locations in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Asaba, Warri, and Izombe, where workers have since withdrawn their services in compliance with the union directives.