Members of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) on Wednesday shut down operations at Chevron Nigeria Ltd (CNL), as they protest what they termed the company’s unfair labour practices.
The protesters, who stormed the headquarters of CNL in the morning, blocked all the entrances, leading into the company, carrying different placards.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards read: ‘Give us our right’, ‘We say no to corruption’, ‘We say no to victimisation, no to fake court injunction,’ among others.
Mr Tokunbo Korodo, the Southwest chairman of the union, who led the protesting workers, said that the action was meant to keep the public abreast of the situation in CNL.
“The masses believe that NUPENG can just wake up and command their members to start strike.
“We just want to correct that impression. This protest will also send signal to the government and the management of CNL,” he said.
Korodo said that the union had been on the issue since June 25 and had done a lot to see that justice was done.
He said the management of CNL had turned deaf ears to the issues raised by the union.
“We have been on this issue for a while; we urge the government to investigate the management of the company.
“We are now taking the last step, this is not the first time we will be staging a protest on this matter.
“As we are protesting here, this kind of protest is going on in other parts of the country.
“This is our last step to this unfair labour practices, if nothing is done, the next step is to proceed on nationwide strike.
“We want Nigerians to feel the pain we are going through,” he said.
Mr Leonard Ugwu, the chairman, Chevron NUPENG chapter, said that in 2012 CNL decided to do away with six companies they were with and disintegrated them into 16 companies.
Ugwu said that during this process the company promised to pay some entitlements to workers to be affected by the changes.
“Up till now, we have done everything possible for them to give us our entitlements, but they remained adamant.
“We are now going spiritual to get our entitlements from them,” he said.
Effort to get the management of CNL to comment on the issue proved abortive as most management staff approached by journalists declined to talk. (NAN)