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Published On: Tue, Nov 27th, 2012

NUPENG Cripples Shell Activities in Warri over Sack of 1,500 Workers ……suspends branch Chairman for allegedly compromising

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By Christopher Odamah, Warri

The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) members, in Warri yesterday crippled the activities of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over the sacked of 1,500 of their members.
Just as SPDC said oil production was not affected by the protest of the NUPENG members.
 It was gathered that the protest by NUPENG members also led to gridlock along the ever busy Airport/Ogunu road as the protesters barricaded the road with petroleum tankers.
The presence of heavy security men with giant dogs were noticed at the Shell gate just as a similar situation was also observed at the Contractors Gate of the Company but it did not deter the NUPENG members from protesting through major roads in the city.
Meanwhile, Policemen had a difficult time controlling the traffic just as motorists and commuters on early morning rush spent several hours on the road to get to their various destinations.
The National Deputy President of NUPENG, Comrade Eddy Ossai who addressed his members at the Tanks Park before embarking on the peaceful protest said that over 1,500 of NUPENG members were laid off by SPDC, describing the action as unacceptable.
He charged his members to be ready to do battle with SPDC and be united in the struggle, saying that “I want to urge all of us to coordinate ourselves to be committed to this course and match forward.”
According to him, “We are not going to accept what Shell has just done to our members. They have done it today to some of us and tomorrow it may be our turn.  We must stand up and fight for our members. Shell must not be allowed to get away with this.”
Speaking further, Comrade Williams Akporeha, the National Treasurer of NUPENG, said that “Shell has told the whole world that NUPENG is no longer important and if we allow that to exist, others like Chevron, Mobil etc,  will follow suit. Shell today sacked 1,500 of our members. Not because they do not have any reason to do so, they did that without consulting the Union. The NUPENG branch Chairman in Shell even compromised and he was suspended by the Union and the Vice Chairman took over.”
Comrade Akporeha who is also the Delta State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) added; “The suspended Chairman conveyed a meeting where he gave himself a vote of confidence saying that NEC has no such power to suspend him.

“We were not happy with the action of the suspended branch Chairman and we make it clear to him, that he was no longer our member and we set up a caretaker committee, but Shell woke up and fired 1,500 of our members and we cannot take this, hence we are on the street today,” Comrade Akporeha stated.
On his part, the Warri Zonal Chairman of NUPENG, Comrade Edmund Ofudje said that “What we are doing here is not to fight or kill anybody but we want to tell the whole world what Shell is doing. We members of NUPENG are not happy with the firing of 1,500 of our members by Shell. If it is done in London, America, etc, it can also be done to us in Nigeria because we are human beings just like where they came from. Today, we are going to stand together and protect the name of NUPENG.”

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