Some 1000 sacked contract workers of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited in Qua Iboe Terminal (QIT) are demanding N10 million for each of the workers affected by the recent downsizing exercise of the company, for a total of N1 billion.
The dismissed workers last week blocked the access road to the OIT, protesting non-payment of their severance benefits.
The aggrieved workers said they made the demand at a meeting with officials of the company and security agencies drafted to secure the firm’s facilities in Ibeno.
The meeting was attended by the Public Affairs Manager, Security Manager and Real Estate Facility mangers at Qua Iboe Terminal, representatives of aggrieved workers and Security chiefs in the area.
Mr Godwin Idim, spokesman for the dismissed workers, who confirmed the demands, said that their issues were tabled at a meeting with officials of the oil firm at the weekend.
Idim said: “We were compelled to protest the violation of an existing agreement we signed with the representative of Mobil management in 2007 when this rationalisation was mooted.
“It was then agreed that any worker affected shall be paid a terminal benefit using the collective bargaining agreement of contract staff, but they sacked 1,000 of us without recourse to that agreement.
“So we have presented that agreement to their legal team to interpret and they postponed the meeting to Tuesday to enable them report back to their management, that is where we are,” Idim said.
He said that the workers were looking forward to a resolution of the labour dispute on Tuesday when the peace talks resume.
Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, a subsidiary of American energy firm ExxonMobil, outsources most of its labour needs to contractors who recruit unskilled and semi-skilled workers on its behalf from the host communities in Akwa Ibom.
The oil company, had in a statement signed by Nigel Cookey-Gam, Mobil’s Communications Manager, disclosed that the workers’ protest did not disrupt its crude output.
“Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), operator of the NNPC/MPN Joint Venture, confirms that a group of third party contractors' personnel today staged a protest on the road leading to its QIT in Akwa Ibom State.
“There was no disruption to production,” Nigel Cookey said