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Nigerian Oil Union Threatens Three-day Strike at Exxon Mobil, Chevron

Source: Reuters 1/9/2017, Location: Africa

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A Nigerian oil labor union will stage a three-day strike at Chevron and Exxon Mobil fuel depots from Wednesday in a protest over sackings if talks with the government fail, union officials said. The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) said it would make a final decision after its leaders meet officials from the ministries of petroleum and labor, as well as the state oil company, on Tuesday in the capital, Abuja.

OPEC member Nigeria has already been hit by low crude prices and a wave of militant attacks in its southern Niger Delta oil hub throughout 2016 which has hampered production. Nigerian labor unions have criticized oil companies for sacking workers in recent months. Last week NUPENG held a strike at Total's fuel depots in a row over sackings, but it was suspended after one day because an agreement was reached. No details have emerged about the deal.

If the planned strike goes ahead this week, 10,000 workers could down tools, Tokunbo Korodo, who chairs NUPENG's southwestern Lagos zone, said. "There will be a total shutdown of production terminals, distribution and filling stations. We are talking about the downstream sector," Korodo said.

Chika Onuegbu, a senior figure in another labor union - Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) - said his members would await the outcome of government talks before deciding whether or not to strike. An Exxon Mobil spokesman declined to comment, while Chevron could not immediately be reached for comment.

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