Shell Nigeria warned by unions over planned massive lay-off

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The umbrella Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned the Nigerian subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell against the reported plan to sack 3,500 workers of its total workforce.

The private Leadership newspaper Tuesday quoted NLC’s Deputy Secretary-General, Olaitan Oyerinde, as saying the plan was unacceptable to the union because it was ”anti-labour”.

“NLC is ready to do all it can, including mass action, to ensure that none of the workers is victimised by the Dutch company in any way. We totally condemn in strong terms the plan by the Dutch company to sack about 3,500 workers.

“What that means is that these people will now be in the street. What would then happen to their family members?” Oyerinde queried.

The union leader called on President Umaru Yar’Adua and the oil companies operating in the Niger-Delta area to urgently take steps to ensure lasting peace in the area.

Shell, which is responsible for about half of Nigeria’s export quota of 2.1 million barrels per day, has been hit by militant attacks in recent times, forcing it to shut down several production platforms.

At the last count, Shell facilities in the restive oil region have been attacked five times within a short time by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) or its affiliate groups.

MEND, which is leading an armed campaign for a better deal for the oil region, has recently stepped up its attacks in what it said was aimed at crippling Nigeria’s oil exports.

But the group said on Sunday it was considering an appeal for a cease-fire by the US Senator Barrack Obama.

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