Tife Owolabi, Alexis Akwagyiram & Anamesere Igboeroteonwu | YENAGOA
A Nigerian labour union that had called for the shutdown of all Exxon Mobil Corp facilities in the Niger Delta has suspended its strike at its Rivers state branch in the oil production hub, two union representatives said on Saturday.
Reuters had been unable to verify independently whether members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) had shut the company’s facilities in the region on Friday, and oil industry sources said there was no impact on production.
“The strike has been suspended,” said Chika Onuegbu, who represents PENGASSAN in Rivers state.
Onuegbu and a senior PENGASSAN official, who also said the strike in Rivers state had been suspended but did not want to be identified, said the move followed a ruling by an industrial arbitration panel.
PENGASSAN’S chairman in the Port Harcourt zone, Azubike M Azubike, later said the industrial action had not been suspended elsewhere in the country.
“The strike is still on nationwide, especially in Exxon Mobil facilities across Nigeria. We are still talking with Exxon Mobil management,” he said.
Nigerian labour unions have held a number of strikes in the last few months over the dismissal of oil industry workers.
The latest industrial action was in protest at the sacking of 150 workers in December, of which 82 were PENGASSAN members.
Strikes by Exxon workers in Nigeria at the end of last year did affect output, delaying loadings by weeks.
(Reporting by Tife Owolabi, Alexis Akwagyiram in Lagos and Anamesere Igboeroteonwu in Onitsha; Editing by Dale Hudson, Bernard Orr)