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Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala

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…

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Major Nigerian Union Threatens Strike After Mass Firing Of New Members

A major Nigerian oil union has threatened to strike on December 18th in retaliation to a “mass sacking” of workers that had joined the organization, according to a new report by Reuters.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) called on the government to force companies to rehire the fired union workers. The organization did not say how many of its members had been fired.

Nigerian oil minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said the government would enter into talks with PENGASSAN to resolve the dispute “as soon as possible.”

PENGASSAN has proved that its strike threats should not be taken lightly. In May, the group started a three-day nationwide strike at Chevron, Shell, and Eni’s unit Agip in a solidarity protest over the layoff of union members from ExxonMobil. The industrial action had begun at Exxon’s Nigerian subsidiary the previous week, with employees protesting against a group layoff of oil workers in December last year, when a total of 150 workers lost their jobs, including 82 members of the Pengassan union.

Related: Analysts Raise 2018 Oil Price Forecasts After OPEC Deal

Elsewhere in Nigeria, residents of the Bayelsa region in the Niger Delta disrupted oil production at a field operated by Shell last Wednesday, shutting down two oil wells, a report by the Sahara Reporters said.

The oilfield in question has been safe from the flurry of attacks on oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta, which began in 2017. Nigeria had shut nearly half of its oil production by the end of last year due to the strength of the anti-Abuja campaign in major oil-producing areas.

"We took the step as a last resort following several talks, the oil firm had given us hope but they later backed out by telling us that the transmission line to our community is not strong enough cannot carry the power,” youth leader Oyeso Atena said.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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