Chevron workers defy court order, begin strike
Business activities at the Chevron Nigeria offices in Lagos, Warri and Port Harcourt were yesterday disrupted as junior employees of its contractors defied court order and declared a strike.
The workers were protesting over an alleged ‘inconclusive contract’ that has adversely affected their allowance packages under the contract. The protest that started around 10a.m lingered for several hours with the workers chanting various labour slangs.
Chevron, in its reaction, said the action of the workers negates Nigerian labour laws and was contrary to the advice of the Federal Ministry of Labour and the order of the National Industrial Court (NIC) for them to suspend the strike.
The General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Deji Haastrup, said: “In accordance with the statutory dispute resolution process, the matter was referred by the Federal Ministry of Labour to the National Industrial Court (NIC) since conciliation at the Federal Ministry of Labour did not resolve the issue.
He explained that the National Industrial Court (NIC), by an order dated September 8, 2015, had granted an interim injunction restraining the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) from striking, picketing, demonstrating or in any way disrupting the industrial harmony in the offices and facilities of CNL pending the determination of the matter.
CNL continues to honour the invitations of constituted authorities aimed at resolving the issues, while encouraging NUPENG and the third party employees to embrace dialogue with their employers and obey the law. We also encourage all groups with any perceived grievance to follow due process and the rule of law.
“CNL reiterates its commitment to international best practices in labour relations and wishes to state that the safety and security of its workforce, employees and contractors alike, remains its highest priority,” he said.
This marked an escalation of a protest by these workers over grievances with their employers. The workers have since August 7, 2015 been carrying out the protest.
They have threatened to continue their strike until the company pays their end of contract benefits and resolve other issues. The trouble started in 2012 when the Chevron stopped their contract with six big companies.
The workers alleged that they were later re-employed by 16 smaller companies under a new contract that excluded the former benefits.