Uyo — Sacked Nigerians working for Exxonmobil as service contract staff are on war path over the refusal of the oil major to pay them terminal benefits after six years after their disengagements.
At a protest march in Eket, one of the catchment local government areas of Mobil in Akwa Ibom State at the weekend, oil workers numbering more than 1,000 warned that they would no longer tolerate further delay by the American oil giant to pay them off.
Some of the placards carried during the protest read: "Mobil pay us our entitlement don't punish us in our land." Federal Government please intervene, Mobil is pushing us into violence", Mobil, delay is dangerous, pay us our entitlements
", Mobil, respect Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), our families are suffering", among others.
Thisday gathered that in the last few months the sacked oil workers had staged similar protests including sealing off the QIT premises in Ibeno for two days until the state government and security operatives intervened.
The chairman of the Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN) Service Workers forum and Secretary, Joseph Okon and Godwin Idim respectively, who led other members on protest, called on the Federal Government to wade into the matter as further action would impact negatively on the economy.
The representatives of the sacked workers told journalists that Mobil had entered into agreement with them since 2006 that those to be affected in the triming of the workforce by the oil company would be settled based on the MPN Labour Contract system of the CBA since they were not full staff.
He said their problem with Mobil started when members made move to unionise. "Between the time we started the struggle and now, over 3,000 service contract workers have been sacked from Mobil without any terminal benefits".
"We are demanding that all service contract workers sacked from work from 2006 till date be paid their terminal benefits using the existing MPN Labour Contract of the CBA," the workers stated.
Thisday gathered that about 1,386 service contract workers were laid off by Mobil in the downsising exercise and months later, Mobil backslided and denied promising to pay the workers any form of compensation.
After series of negotiations, Mobil was said to have again agreed to pay them only N25, 000 per year with effect from 2007, which the workers were said to have rejected, as most of them had put in between 15 to 30 years in the service.
Further negotiations were said to have collapsed as Mobil refused to implement earlier provisions made for the disengaged workers.
This position of the oil firm on the workers reportedly triggered up protests in Eket and Ibeno early this year until the state government and security operatives called both parties for dialogue.
In the meetings, officials who attended it were said to have described the offer by Mobil as too meagre which MPN accepted to go back and improve on the package or offer for peace to reign.