ABUJA – A major Nigerian oil union said on Saturday it would launch a strike from Monday after talks aimed at resolving a dispute with domestic oil and gas companies reached a deadlock.
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), whose members mainly work in the upstream oil industry, is clashing with the companies over the laying off of union members.
The strike could hit Nigeria’s oil production and dent exports, as they did in December last year during a PENGASSAN action against ExxonMobil.
“PENGASSAN has commenced mobilisation for the strike,” a spokeswoman for the union said.
The dispute arose after domestic oil and gas companies and marginal field operators laid off union members. Marginal fields refer to discoveries made by oil majors during exploration of larger acreage but which have been left for others to develop.
PENGASSAN has asked the government to force the management of those companies to recall their laid off workers. The union said the firms ordered “mass” lay offs but has not given figures.
Oil output from Nigeria, Africa’s largest crude exporter, has been volatile over the past two years due to militant attacks, pipeline theft and sabotage and industrial action.