The Federal Government’s much avowed local content policy appears to be endangered following prevailing war by labour leaders against fledgling indigenous service companies that form the engine of the policy drive, as about 1,000 staff of companies were laid off recently. It was gathered that labour crisis in the service segment of the petroleum industry arose from futile struggle by indigenous companies to retain indigenous workers they groomed under various capacity building programmes that took substantial investments.
The workers’ unions protest boils down to financial entitlements while the oil service companies point at low oil price cycles, dearth and outright cancellation of contracts by operators whose projects have dropped from investment tables, as well as elongated downtime due to call-off contracts. President of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, Mr. F.O. Johnson, did not respond to call put to him on the matter but other members of the group confirmed that the oil workers’ union is driving a movement against nearly 20 companies that fail to meet their demands for internal unionism, reinstatement of sacked workers and payment of fat exit packages to disengaged staff.
It was gathered that some of the workers demanding severance packages are leaving for foreign multinational oil service firms after they have been employed as pupil staff and trained by the indigenous firms to meet industry skills standards. Currently, over 17 indigenous service companies based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, are battling to save their businesses from impact of attacks from National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, and PENGASSAN over unresolved entitlement issues. Read more