A group layoff of oil workers in Nigeria has caused a strike in protest against American oil giant Exxon, according to an oil labor union official who spoke to Reuters.
The strike came in response to a total of 150 workers who lost their jobs in December—82 of them members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, or PENGASSAN.
"We want them to be brought back and if that is not possible we want a proper severance package for them," said Abel Agarin, the union’s leader. Agarin led around 50 protesters in a demonstration in the commercial capital on Thursday, but strikes have occurred in Lagos, Bonny, Akwa Ibom, and Port Harcourt.
“No impacts” on production so far, an Exxon spokesperson told reporters.
Oil traders concurred that any effects on production remain to be seen, but it’s still too early to tell. Similar protests by Exxon workers at the end of last year regarding the same issue caused Exxon Nigeria to shut down its national headquarters, spurning weeks of loading delays.
“We respect the rights of our workforce and will continue to engage with them to resolve this situation,’’ Oge Udeagha, Exxon Nigeria communications manager said, as quoted by NAN.
Protests have continued in the first quarter of 2017 as well.
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Hundreds of Nigerian oil contractors held heated talks with Italian oil major Eni over unpaid wages in March, even though production had been restored following militant attacks in the Niger Delta. The talks grew so tense, the police had to be called in to keep the peace.
Eni’s representative in Nigeria blamed the payment delays on debts owed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The national oil company has been bleeding revenues due to a year of attacks on foreign oil assets in the Niger Delta by separatist groups.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…