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

Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, has called on stakeholders, especially the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR; Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC; Ministry of Labour and Employment, and Ministry of Petroleum Resources to compel Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, and Valliant Energy Services, to pay the benefits of workers of ERA Field before their planned termination on October 17, to avoid a national strike.

NUPENG, in a statement by its President and General Secretary, Prince Williams Akporeha and Afolabi Olawale, respectively, recalled that the benefits of workers sacked by Shell and Valliant Energy Services since 2019 have not been paid despite all entreaties, directing members to immediately shut Borr Friggs rig (ERA Field) drilling operated by Shell Petroleum pending further directives.

The statement read in part: “You will recall we have a pending dispute with Valliant Energy Services, over its refusal to pay the final entitlements of workers wrongly sacked since 2019.

“We are aware of a plot by SPDC and Valiant Energy Services to sack workers engaged on Borr Friggs rig of Shell location (ERA Field) drilling, as the contract of Valliant Energy Services on the rig is set to round up not later than October 17.

“The plot to sack these workers and realities of the harrowing experiences of the 39 workers sacked previously, prompted the workers to immediately demand for engagement with Valliant Energy Services, and assurances of safekeeping of their terminal benefits.

“Unfortunately, rather than engaging the workers in negotiations over these demands, management and owners of Valiant Energy Services have been trying every trick to deceive and frustrate these workers.

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

The union called on the stakeholders to intervene.

to live up to their responsibilities by compelling on Valiant Energy Services  to pay the terminal benefits of the affected workers which is already taking longer than necessary;

“And make clear commitments for the payment of terminal benefits of those workers that will lose their jobs very soon due to the end of contract he has with SPDC.

“The general public should note that NUPENG should no longer be blamed for any industrial actions our members may deem fit to express their grievances over the lawless attitude and unfair labour practices Valiant Energy Services and Shell.”