The row between Chevron Nigeria Limited and some employees of companies contracted by the oil major deepened last week as members of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers stormed its offices in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Warri in protest.
Chevron, however, described the protests as contrary to the advice of the Federal Ministry of Labour and the order of the National Industrial Court.
It was gathered that the union was demanding the payment of the contractors’ benefits.
With placards bearing different messages such as: ‘Pay our contract closure benefit’, ‘Chevron why avoiding the GMD NNPC on the issue of transition/close of contract?’ and ‘Chevron obey the communiqué of 8-10 July, 2015’, the workers sang solidarity songs and later barricaded the Chevron Drive, Lekki, Lagos.
The Chairman, NUPENG, Lagos Zone, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, who led the protest in Lagos, said, “We have been on this issue for a while and we have done a lot to ensure that justice is done. The government should beam it searchlight on what is going on in Chevron because there are a lot of financial misappropriation and embezzlement of workers’ entitlements.”
He said the Chevron management had sought the cooperation of the National Petroleum Investment Management Services, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, to release some workers and “they were given approval, but in the end, they were short-changed. They were not paid according to the approval given to them.”
Korodo added, “We have taken the case to the higher authority; the Ministry of Labour has intervened. They gave instruction to Chevron management, but they proved adamant. The NNPC GMD also called us for a meeting, but the Chevron management turned down the offer.