Oil workers in Nigeria stopped on Monday the loading of oil products, natural gas, and aviation fuel as the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) joined an indefinite nationwide strike of its current affiliate United Labour Congress of Nigeria (ULC), demanding better conditions and pay as well as recognition of the ULC.
Electricity union workers have also joined in the strike. The ULC is a breakaway union from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). ULC split from the NLC last year over power struggles, and the NUPENG oil and gas workers’ union is now affiliated with the ULC.
The ULC demands to be recognized and registered as a union. It also demands that roads to oil facilities be repaired and army personnel withdrawn from security duties at the oil infrastructure installations. The government, on the other hand, says the strike is illegal.
The NLC, from which ULC split, says that the new union is fake as it is not recognized by the government, and urged Nigerian workers to ignore calls for a nationwide strike.
There will be a complete shutdown of all loading activities by NUPENG workers on Monday, Lagos State Chairman of ULC and Lagos zonal chairman of NUPENG, Tokunbo Korodo, told Nigeria’s Vanguard on Sunday.
“What that means is that we are not going to load products across the country, including aviation fuel, from today until there is counter directive from the national leaders of our umbrella body, the ULC,” he noted.
The strike that began today is not the first industrial action in the Nigerian oil sector this year.
In May, members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Pengassan, 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 actionhad 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.(By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com)