A Nigerian oil and gas workers’ union has accused Shell of “foul play” over the treatment of workers as a second round of three-day striking action looms next week.
The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (Nupeng) alleged that the Anglo-Dutch supermajor had sold off some oil blocks without following due process, and promised “a total war against those who mismanaged our national economy”.
A three-day national strike began in Nigeria on Wednesday as workers across numerous sectors walked out in protest at the government’s failure to implement minimum wage legislation. Nupeng and the Petroleum & Natural Gas Senior Staff Association have taken a leading role in the strikes as the petroleum industry is the country’s biggest.
Nupeng president, Achese Igwe, was quoted by Nigerian newspaper Vanguard as saying: “We condemn and frown at the sale of oil blocks by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to the highest bidders, Neste oil, Con oil etc without following the due process.”
The newspaper report does not identify which block sales Igwe was referring to when he said oil workers’ livelihoods had been “traded away in the auction game”.
Igwe alleged: “It is common knowledge that Nupeng and other secondary groups operating in the [SPDC] were not carried along and taken into confidence about the future existence of workers and official roles of the union in those companies that bought over SPDC assets.
“We state that the union was deliberately sidetracked and kept in the dark to prevent members of the public – that is Nigerians – from knowing anything about this stratagem foisted with deals and transactions which lack transparency in [their] totality.
“We suspect foul play for SPDC and others to have hurriedly sold those blocks without considering the fate of the workforce.
“The SPDC is the guiltiest in the casualisation of workers in the industry. It is modern day slavery and we are battle ready to fight against it.”
Shell has not responded to requests for a reply to Igwe’s comments.
This piece was written by Eoin O’Cinneide and was culled from www.upstreamonline.com