21 December 2016, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Each of the 100 workers sacked recently by ExxonMobil Nigeria under itsredundancy programme would be paid about N140 million by the company.
The workers’ sack has been the subject of protest by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, leading to the shut down of ExxonMobil Lagos office by workers last week.
Findings by SweetcrudeReports revealed that the affected employees are only about six percent of the company’s workforce, and were offered an enhanced benefits package in excess of the provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, CBA, signed with the in-house union.
Post-employment programmes to support the affected workers’ transition period from the company were also included in the package.
An internal memo obtained by our correspondent revealed that the company’s severance payments, driven by years of service and additional redundancy gratuities, are in some cases up to N350 million for an employee.
“For the total population affected, average payment per person hovers around N140 million.
“The pay package covered redundancy pay of about 36 months basic salary, settling-in allowance of up to two months basic salary, additional pay to address economic realities of up to three months basic salary, and notice pay of three months basic salary,” the memo stated.
However, when SweetrcudeReports contacted PENGASSAN’s ExxonMobil Branch chairman, Mr. Paul Eboigbe, he said labour and the company were yet to reach an agreement on the issue.
“Labour and the management of the company had a roundtable discussion two weeks ago or there-about and there was no finite agreement between the two parties.
“What we saw was the implementation of the company’s plan without taking Labour union along,” Eboigbe said.
Meanwhile, a source in the company informed that neither the Nigerian Labour Law nor the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the unions required alignment between the company and the union in the event of redundancy actions.
“The CBA (Clause 23b) states that ‘whenever redundancy actions are contemplated, the company shall inform the association of the intended action and the association may bring to the company’s attention any problems that it believes are involved’.
“Similarly, the Nigerian Labour Act (Clause 20a) states that ‘In the event of redundancy, the employer shall inform the trade union or workers’ representative concerned of the reasons for and the extent of the anticipated redundancy,” the source said.
“It is quite surprising that because the union disagreed with the company’s notification, they abandoned the provisions of their CBA which specifically states in Clause 13b that ‘If a dispute arises during the subsistence of the agreement, either party shall comply with the current law governing Trade Disputes in Nigeria and neither party shall resort to arbitrary strike action or lockout,” he added.