Don’t sack workers, Labour Minister tells oil companies

Don’t sack workers, Labour Minister tells oil companies
February 04 19:40 2016

Following alleged plans by major oil companies to sack workers due to the dwindling price of crude in the International market, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige has called on the operators in the sector to shelve such plans so as to avoid throwing the nation into a huge social upheaval.

The minister, who made the call in Abuja on Thursday during a meeting with major oil companies in Nigeria, said the country is already facing a lot of social security problems and cannot afford more to be created through job cuts.

He said a crucial joint labour-oil sector meeting has been scheduled for next week to resolve some emerging issues in the industry.

“The oil majors in Nigeria must therefore bend backwards and see what they can plough back from their profits to keep Nigerian workers on their duty posts…keep the existing jobs as nothing lasts forever. We have a downturn today but you can be sure it will not last forever. If you are not creating new jobs, let us keep the ones we have. That is what this government is pleading and we must emphasize that is what we want,” he said.

The minister said any threat of industrial unrest in the oil and gas sector should be nipped in the bud because the sector remains the financial backbone of the country’s economy for now.

Speaking on behalf of the international oil companies – Agip, Mobil Producing, Chevron Addax and Total – the Director of Human Resources and Medical, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Ihuoma Onyearughe appealed for understanding and collaboration on the part of the government in view of the current challenges facing the industry.

“The issue of laying people off is not a decision that comes lightly. I will not come here to tell you that people are being laid off or not. The situation in the oil company is dire. We want to ask for more understanding in appreciation of the challenges we face. Nevertheless, we have heard the Hon. Minister and we will take your message back to our various companies,” she said.

She also called on minister to protect the oil majors from unnecessary harassment from labour unions who usually close their eyes to unfair labour practices by the “Employment Contractors” who do not remit workers pension and compensation funds, but harass and turn the heat on the oil companies.