Hundreds of support staff of Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, have on Wednesday, July 3, 2019, shut down the commercial activities of the refinery in Ekpan, Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State.
It was gathered that hundreds of youths drawn from across the Niger Delta States, joined the support staff over alleged failure of the management to regularise the support staff engagements.
The protesters accused the Management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of reneging on an agreement to convert the contract staff into full staff of the company.
The casual workers, including members of the host communities (Ekpan, Ubeji, Aja-Etan, Ifie-Kporo, and Ijala-Ikeren), rebuffed efforts by security operatives, including policemen and officers of the Nigerian Army, to have them vacate the main entrance into the refinery.
While exercising the protest, the protesters vowed to continue their exercise and ensure that major activities at the refinery remain paralysed until the management of the NNPC wades in immediately to resolve the issue.
NNPC’s response to the protest: There seems to be some misunderstanding between the support staff and the NNPC, as the Corporation responded that it was unaware of any agreement to convert casual workers to full employees.
NNPC spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu, revealed that there was no discrimination in the Corporation’s recruitment process.
Ughamadu’s said, “We have been announcing the various stages for recruitment. In that advertisement, it was thrown open for all the staff and they were asked to apply. How many of them applied?”
“The casuals were also invited but that aside, we have engaged them. We told them that after this exercise, there is another stage.”
He further said that, “If they didn’t fall into the first category, they may fall into the second category. That is what we are on. We don’t have casuals only in Warri Refinery. We have casuals in all of our subsidiaries, including the Headquarters and many of them applied, and they are undergoing interviews now.”
“There’s no discrimination in the process. I am not aware if there was any agreement with them.
He concluded that, “I’m appealing to them to exercise restraint. We’ll continue to engage them to ensure that amicable resolution is reached.”