By Enyeribe Ejiogu
International oil major and joint venture partner of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), has expressed concern over a seeming misrepresentation of facts in the notice given to it by the Joint Executive Committee of CNL branches of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), declaring their joint intention to embark on industrial action.
The two unions, in a report published in Sunday Sun yesterday, announced that CNL had failed to rescind the wrongful termination of three of their members caused by policy changes detrimental to their interests and therefore demanded a reversal of same by CNL, failing which they would embark on industrial action to ground the operations of the oil firm after the expiration of a 14-day ultimatum.
Reacting to the report, in a statement issued by the General Manager (Policy, Government and Public Affairs), Esimaje Brikinn, Chevron Nigeria Limited while acknowledging the notice denied complicity in the decision of its third party contractors to disengage the affected workers.
Setting the record straight, Chevron said: “Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), operator of the joint venture between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and CNL (NNPC/CNL JV), confirms that, it has received a notice of threat to embark on industrial action (Notice) jointly signed by officials of the CNL Branch of The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN). The Notice is in respect of some alleged unresolved industrial relations issues, including termination of employment of some employees of independent, third party contractors by their employers.
“CNL did not terminate the employment of any employee of independent third party contractors. We understand that some independent contractors providing services to CNL terminated the services of three of their employees. CNL does not interfere in the internal administration of independent contractors working for CNL. CNL is not responsible for or involved in the engagement or disengagement of, contractor employees deployed by contractor to CNL’s work locations for the performance of services.”
CNL further explained that in keeping with its commitment to resolving issues through meaningful dialogue and respect for the rule of law, is has been engaged in cordial discussions with “the leaders of PENGASSAN and the contractors to fully understand their concerns and seek amicable resolution of the issues.”
It stressed that the firm “is a responsible and law-abiding company, and its priority remains the welfare and safety of its employees and contractor personnel deployed to its facilities and the security of its assets. We will therefore do our best to safeguard these interests.”