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From the Field

Nigerian union announces strike

ABUJA, January 11, 2017 – A major Nigerian oil labour union on Wednesday said a strike had commenced involving its members as well as fuel retail personnel.

According to Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) zonal Chairman Cogent Ojobo, some 10,000 had gone on strike for a period of three days. “Filling stations, petrol tankers and all NUPENG members are involved,” he said.

In the meantime, NUPENG will engage in talks with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity. “If the issues at stake are resolved and a communique signed, the strike would be called off,” Ojobo also said.

 

Unions have been angered by the sacking of workers in recent months. In Mid-December, Union protests at ExxonMobil’s Nigerian headquarters forced the local subsidiary of the US major to temporarily shut down the premises.

Protest erupted following the sacking of some 145-150 workers, with members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (Pengassan) barricading entry points to the Lagos site. According to the union, not all avenues for negotiations had been explored, arguing that ExxonMobil had sacked workers prematurely.

Update: The strike called by NUPENG was called off later on Wednesday following talks at the ministry. “All issues have been addressed one after the other. We are very satisfied with the commitment shown […] We have decided to suspend the three-day strike that commenced today and also asked our members … to do all that is necessary to keep the industry flowing,” union President Igwe Achese said.

Image courtesy of The Guardian Nigeria

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