Thursday, October 22, 2020

NUPENG closes Shell’s ERA field, threatens strike over unpaid benefits

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By Victor Ahiuma-Young

The Nigerian Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Union, NUPENG, has asked interested parties, especially the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR; National Petroleum Corporation of Nigeria, NNPC; Ministry of Labor and Employment and Ministry of Petroleum Resources to force Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC and Valliant Energy Services, to pay ERA Field workers’ benefits before its planned termination on October 17, to avoid a national strike.

NUPENG, in a statement from its president and general secretary, Prince Williams Akporeha and Afolabi Olawale, respectively, recalled that the benefits of workers laid off by Shell and Valliant Energy Services since 2019 have not been paid despite all the pleas, and ordered to members to immediately close Borr Drilling of Friggs Platform (ERA Field) operated by Shell Petroleum pending new directives.

The statement read in part: “You will recall that we have a pending dispute with Valliant Energy Services, for their refusal to pay the final rights of workers unfairly fired since 2019.

“We are aware of a plan by SPDC and Valiant Energy Services to fire the workers involved in drilling the Borr Friggs rig from the Shell location (ERA Field), as the Valliant Energy Services contract on the rig is scheduled. to conclude no later than October 17.

“The plot to fire these workers, and the reality of the harrowing experiences of the 39 previously laid off workers, led the workers to immediately demand their commitment to Valliant Energy Services and guarantees of the custody of their terminal benefits.

“Unfortunately, instead of involving workers in negotiations over these lawsuits, the management and owners of Valiant Energy Services have been trying all the tricks to deceive and frustrate these workers.

“We are aware of the plot to use armed security agencies to forcibly evacuate these workers from the platform.”

The union asked interested parties to intervene.

to live up to its responsibilities by forcing Valiant Energy Services to pay terminal benefits for affected workers, which is already taking longer than necessary;

“And make clear commitments for the payment of terminal benefits for those workers who will soon lose their job due to the end of their contract with SPDC.

“The general public should be aware that NUPENG should no longer be blamed for any industry action that our members deem appropriate to voice their grievances for the illegal attitude and unfair labor practices of Valiant Energy Services and Shell.”

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