Thousands of oil workers in Nigeria may lose their jobs after a wave of picketing against several service companies from the industry from members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN).
The protests follows allegations that the service companies are refusing to allow their workers to unionize.
It was gathered that workers union leaders in Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria are deliberating on ways of avoiding the crisis, with its chairman accusing PENGASSAN of not being a good sport amid a spate of problems in the local oil industry.
“It is difficult times for the oil firms, not just the service firms but also oil firms that are facing the headwinds in the oil market. Some of them are finding it difficult to pay for jobs delivered by service firms. So, they owe us. We don’t go to war with them because we know what the industry is passing through,” Bank-Antony Okoroafor was cited to have said.
Okoroafor had stated that the service companies the protesters work for incurred huge debt and in many cases and “banks are chasing them.”
He said the workers from PENGASSAN are pushing their employers towards bankruptcy, risking their own jobs. He contended: “if these fledgling firms go down completely where will your members work? The biggest losers would be the workers PENGASSAN pretends to be fighting for.”
PENGASSAN insisted it would not accept “any management that infringes on the workers’ Rights to Freedom of Association and Lawful Assembly.”