Nigeria’s depleted daily oil production capacity may further drop by a minimum of about 200,000 barrels if the threat by oil workers make good their threat to embark on another full-blown nation-wide strike come next Monday.
Already members of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) Chapter of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) began a skeletal strike action since last Monday.
Last Saturday, PENGASSAN, in a letter dated January 23, 2021 to the management of NAOC, registered the concern of its members over alleged sustained unfair labour practices against it members.
In the letter signed by its General Secretary, Lumumba Okugbawa, PENGASSAN accused NAOC management of engaging in “subtle threat, demoblization and denial of its members access to the company’s operational facilities.”
PENGASSAN pointedly blamed the crisis on the company’s Operations Divisional Manager and demanded his redeployment or face the escalation of the current ongoing industrial action.
Urging the management of the oil company to immediately withdraw its memo they described as “toxic”, the association advised the management to immediately open discussions with the leadership of its NAOC branch on ways to resolve the issue.
The Association said the proposed dialogue over the matter was the only way they believe the issues would be resolved and industrial harmony restored.
“As a responsible and law-abiding Association, we view the insinuation by Nigerian Agip Management that the legitimate actions of the Union was unlawful as laughable and a mockery of the relevant sections of the labour laws detailing on how industrial actions and disputes should follow.
“It is also unimaginable that the Nigerian Agip Management should accuse us of deliberately avoiding meetings called to address the issues and for disobeying directives from the Federal Ministry of Labour, among others.
“Consequently, we are calling on all stakeholders and the security agencies in the Country to prevail on the Nigerian Agip Management to, as a matter of National security and economic development of the country, refrain from acts capable of truncating the long existing peace between workers and Management and therefore warn that we will not continue to guarantee industrial peace should the situation persist,” PENGASSAN said.
PENGASSAN made the accusation on Wednesday in a statement in which it said NAOC management has continued to show
In a follow-up letter on Wednesday, PENGASSAN said the alleged acts of “high headedness and acts of intimidation against its members” despite repeated protests were unacceptable.
But, when the management of the company still refused to concede to the workers’ demand for dialogue on the issues, they announced in a follow-up notice the commencement of a warning strike.
The workers warned that if at the expiration of seven day nothing was still done by the management of the company to resolve the issues, they would have no option than to commence a full-blown nation-wide strike.
PENGASSAN said the strike action would involve the withdrawal of the services of all others of their colleagues in all oil operational locations across the country, including shutting down of oil production and export facilities from Monday next week.
If the oil workers proceed on the nationwide strike, the implication is that Nigeria would lose, throughout the duration of the strike, the production capacity of NAOC, which current stands at an average of 200,000 barrels per day of oil equivalent.
At this time the country’s total oil production capacity has dropped significantly from about 198,000 barrels to about 171,000 barrels per day as a result of a combined impact of COVID-19 and OPEC output cut agreement, another threat of national strike could further reduce the country’s oil production capacity.
On Thursday, when MEDIATRACNET contacted NAOC for its official reaction to the allegations by the oil workers, an official, who said he was not authorized to speak on the issue, said they were still waiting for its top management at the headquarters for further information on the way forward.
But, it was learnt that a meeting with the Federal Ministry of Labour called to discuss the matter was called off at the last minute, as the senior NAOC officials who could made presentations failed to show up.