Two foremost Nigerian trade unions have accused Chevron Nigeria Limited of ignoring a 14-day ultimatum, last month, to reinstate three workers “unlawfully disengaged” at the behest of the American multinational.
The Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN) say the disengagement of Bukola Sola-Adebawo, James Ukachukwu, and John Ayeni was arbitrary. They said it was executed by IESL, Candid Oil, and Xepameadow respectively.
“The inhumane treatment meted out to the affected Nigerian workers is antithetical to all applicable laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as other international laws that guide employment and the protection of rights of workers,” a June 4 statement jointly issued by the two unions said.
“As a union, we are greatly disturbed by the disregard for due process the termination of these Nigerians; and we are uncomfortable watching while workers’ rights are trampled upon by CNL and her contracting companies.”
The unions said a 14-day ultimatum issued the oil giant on May 10 expired without the company acceding to their demands to reinstate the workers.
They also said an earlier letter, in January, to the company over some “lingering industrial relation issues” remains unresolved.
Some of the issues raised in the January letter, according to the unions, include “refund of the outstanding difference in monetary benefits, due to short-payment and illegal deductions from workers’ benefit since 2012, to every affected worker with reference to the original spreadsheet approved for payment with the NNPC.
“Refund loans and grants illegally deducted from worker’s terminal benefits in disregard of the directives issued to the Management by relevant authorities, including FML&E.
“Payment of 2018 Vacation not Taken and Vacation Allowance for Contract Employees that compelled to forfeit the payments by CNL Management during the 2019 transition. These payments ought to have been made alongside the End of contract(EOC) for the old contract that ended on June 30, 2019. This is evident as those who were recently severed from the drilling unit was paid the VNT,” among others.
Other issues raised include the alleged refusal of the CNL management to carry contract workers in staff bus, closure of redundancy discussions for affected contractor employees who exited since May 2010, victimisation of some contract employees for unionising, and casualisation of labour force.
The unions said their patience has been exhausted over the issues and warned the oil company to take urgent steps to avert a looming industrial crisis as no further notice would be given.
A CNL spokesperson did not respond to phone calls and messages Monday afternoon. An email to Richard Kennedy, CNL’s managing director, did not also get a response.