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Published On: Wed, May 15th, 2024

Warri Refinery Workers Protest Over ‘Slavery Salary’, Seek Tinubu, Kyari’s Assistance

WARRI REFIENRY WORKERS PROTEST

LAGOS MAY 16TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Support staff of the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC) in Delta state have appealed to President Bola Tinubu to urgently address the “injustice,” and “workplace slavery” unleashed on them by the management of the company.

The protesting staff, during a peaceful protest at the premises of the company yesterday, also called on the Group Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), Mele Kyari to intervene in their plight.

The workers lamented that since 2015, their call for salary raise and other allowances have been left unattended to which led to another week long protest in 2019, after which management of the WRPC were summoned to the House of Representatives.

They complained that a follow-up protest in 2022 also yielded no result noting that now that the refinery is almost 95 per cent completed, they won’t want to continue with the slavery salary entitlements from the management of the company.

The protesters, clad in black attires and chanting solidarity songs bore placards with inscriptions such as “Renumeration: Health coverage, hazard, pension, leave, transport, lunch, housing allowances,”  “Workplace  oppression/discrimination,” “Support staff actively participated in Quick-Fix project. Retirees called back to reap the reward,” among others.

Speaking to journalists on the day two of the protest yesterday, Lead Representative of the support workers at WRPC, Dafe Ighomitedo, said the protest was against poor earnings and perceived failure of management to boycott, deprive and short-change them, in respect to the Quick-Fix project which they have seen to 95 per cent completion.

“We are calling on our president who doesn’t want oppression to see that we are being treated as slaves here. He should come and intervene. We know he has a good heart towards the youths and we expect him to spring to action. This is the oil and gas industry and we know what is obtainable everywhere.

“We are support staff, not cursed people. There are support staff everywhere in the oil and gas sector, but they are treated fairly. So we want Mr. President to move in swiftly, using his good office and his good heart as a father, so that we too can smile and progress together, even as the nation progresses.

“We are also calling on the GCEO and every stakeholder that wants this nation to move forward to also see to our plight,” he said.

Expressing optimism that the WRPC plant would become operational soonest, Ighomitedo, on behalf of his colleagues, queried the rationale behind management’s bringing in retirees to take up their jobs, including the attached benefits.

“We are being deprived of somethings due us, so we decided to cry out. We are seeking for intervention from the appropriate quarters, the GCEO and the EVP Downstream to come to our rescue. We are receiving virtually peanuts as salaries.

“We will continue to cry out and keep pushing our point. We are the ones that run the plant to this point; it is time to start off the plant, suddenly, they brought in retirees, those that are 70 years and above, to be receiving N1 million every month, while the average salary of people you see here, experienced hire, and our average salary is N100,000.

“We decided to run this plant. From the stage of pre-Quick-Fix, this team, we were the ones running the refinery to ensure this place is set for operations. We have been peaceful but it is sad that we are gathered here to mourn what is going on. We are saying enough of support staff slavery in this place”.

“We  have fixed it to 95 per cent, we want to run it. We want this nation to be proud that the refineries are running. But the painful thing is that we have put in billions for the plant to run, without thinking of anything for those to run the facility.

“How can you bring retirees who have gotten, gratuity, pension with no energy, though with experience? We are energetic people, full with experienced and you are saying average of N100,000 is what befits us; this is workplace slavery and we are saying ‘no’ to it.

“We want to call on the president and well meaning Nigerians to see that we are the ones working. We are the ones that should benefit.

“We felt starting off the plant without giving us any benefit is an injustice and that’s why we gathered,” he added.

ThisDay

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  1. The company should look into the complains of the workers and do the needful. The rate of inflation souring daily should be the root cause and there should be an increase in salaries by the company.

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