The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN) has warned that one of the biggest companies in the Nigerian oil sector, ExxonMobil, is sacking Nigerians to hire highly-paid foreigners.
In a statement, the union said the oil company laid off about 150 Nigerians in 2015, and hired more than 50 expatriates.
“In December 2015, the company issued a special separation programme, SSP, in which about 150 Nigerians were impacted,” PENGASSAN said in a statement by Paul Eboigbe, its branch chairman.
“This was implemented as a voluntary programme which was agreed with the union in line with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, CBA. The union accepted it as a way forward in the light of the challenges in the oil and gas industry.
“Available facts confirm that over 50 expatriates were brought into the country as replacement for those Nigerians that were separated in 2015, despite the huge cost to the company.“After the SSP of December 2015, most of the vacated jobs were given to expatriates and in some cases packaged as service contract to foreign companies which has proven to be more expensive and also rubbishing management claim of cost cutting.”
PENGASSAN explained that it participated in a security investigation at the company where “none of the staff was found wanting”.
“Yet the company reassigned them out of the Security department with a demotion. Again the GM was replaced by an expatriate. In the wake of this investigation, 21 new expats were brought into Security department.“Of these 21, 16 contract expats are paid about $1600 per day (excluding logistics and other benefits). This translates to about N22m per month at the current exchange rate.”But ExxonMobil, on its own, said: “All impacted employees received an enhanced benefits package in excess of the provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the Union.“Post-employment support programs to support their transition period from the Company were also included in the package.”
The union, which is meeting with Ibe Kachikwu, minister of petroleum resources, asks that Nolan O’Neal, the company’s managing director , should be questioned, and his anti-Nigerian motives be called to order.