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 PENGASSAN protests as Chevron Nigeria sacks 2,000 staff, plans to dismiss another 600




OBINNA EZUGWU The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has protested plan by Chevron Nigeria Limited to sack 600 workers in the company, after over 2,000 have been “constructively dismissed” and then asked to reapply for fresh jobs. The oil company had announced that it would be reducing its staff strength by 25 per cent as it is reviewing its manpower requirements due to the outbreak of Coronavirus. In a statement Friday, by its General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Esimaje Brikinn, the company said all employees will retain their employment until the reorganisation process wws completed. PENGASSAN, however in a statement by Ete Oyegbanren, Branch Chairman and Lavin Aghaunor, Branch Secretary, argued that the oil major had already dismissed over 2,000 staff with 600 of them listed for permanent dismissal. They alleged that the company planned to replace the Nigerians sacked with Americans, who will be working remotely. “Chevron Management experimented with Work From Home (WFH) since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020 and discovered that since Nigerians can work from their homes during the lockdown period using internet connection, the same work being done by Nigerians here can be done remotely by Americans from the US hence the move to sack 600 Nigerians and replace them with Americans who would be working remotely from the US. This is a case of worsening the unemployment situation in Nigeria and using same to address those of America,” the statement said. “The President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government has made the creation of 1 million jobs per year a cornerstone of his administration. The government even went further by approving the recruitment of over 1,000 employees to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation. “We are also aware that the FG advised companies not to sack Nigerian workers under the guise of COVID-19. We have credible information that Chevron management is boasting that the President of Nigeria cannot dictate to them how to run the company, despite the fact that NNPC owns 60 per cent of the Joint Venture. “The plan of Chevron management is part of a grand scheme by multinational oil companies operating in Nigeria to gradually relocate work being done in Nigeria to their home country. In this instance, there will be offshoring of 600 Nigerian jobs to America thereby worsening the unemployment situation in Nigeria. As patriotic Nigerians, PENGASSAN shall resist this with all tools available to her.” The union also staged a protest to express their dissatisfaction with the plan of the oil company. PENGASSAN urged the Nigerian Government “to call the management of Chevron to order and direct them to comply with Nigerian laws and regulations in the oil and gas industry”. Reacting to the claims of replacing foreigners with American at Chevron Nigeria, the company said it is focused on cutting cost and not migrating jobs from Nigeria. Brikinn noted that the company was engaging its workers to reach an understanding on the actions of the company. He said, “We have prospects for our company in Nigeria. However, we must make the necessary adjustments in light of the prevailing business climate; and we need everyone’s support to get through these tough times stronger, more efficient and more profitable, in order to sustain the business. “We are actively engaging our workforce to ensure they understand why this is being done. “We will continue to consistently engage all relevant stakeholders, including the leadership of the employee unions as we continue this process of business optimisation.”  

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