The Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers has threatened to embark on strike if the ongoing divestment in the oil sector by some multinationals was not halted.
Mr Igwe Atuche, the President of NUPENG, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Friday.
Atuche deplored the ongoing divestment, saying it was intended to sabotage the Federal Government’s efforts to reposition the petroleum sector.
He said that the situation had raised concerns about the sincerity of government to refocus the sector.
Atuche urged the government to demonstrate its resolve on the issue by checking the divestment trend.
He also said that one of the drawbacks of withdrawal of interests in the sector would be loss of jobs by Nigerians.
Atuche therefore called on the government to constitute a team to look into the issue, warning that unless this was done, the union would call out its members on strike.
“We are actually planning a strike, going by the recent development in the oil sector.
“We are concerned about the activities of the multinational organisations, including Shell, Chevron, Mobil and others, where we believe the government has 60 per cent investments, yet today, a lot of divestment is going on in the sector.
“In the last World Economic Summit, Shell said it was going to divest about one billion-dollar equity in Nigeria.
“Our question is who gave the approval to divest. As I speak to you, there is serious divestment going on in Shell, Chevron, Mobil, Total and Agip,” he said.
The union president said that if the union was pushed to embark on strike, it might be worse than the recent one by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
He said that the union would continue to fight until the right of workers in the sector were respected.
Atuche accused the multinationals of unfair labour practices, saying that some Nigerians in the companies had remained as casual or contract workers for many years.
He also called on the government to do all it could to ensure that refineries in the country worked optimally.
Atuche said that the position of the union on the issues, especially the divestment of equity, had been communicated to the Federal Government.
Source: THE PUNCH