The Nigerian government would help resolve a labour dispute between Exxon Mobil Corporation and unions in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, a minister has said Chris Ngige, Nigeria’s labour minister, told reporters in Abuja on Wednesday that the government has reached out to the two parties involved, Reuters reports.
The labour unions have protested against the sacking of workers at Exxon and other foreign oil firms, staging several strikes since the start of the year.
But on Wednesday, Mr. Ngige noted that, “We have reached out to the management to internally resolve the matter through reconciliation.
“If that fails government will fully take over because even my counterpart, the minister of petroleum, had intervened but it failed,” he added.
Earlier on Saturday, a Nigerian labour union that had called for the shutdown of all Exxon Mobil in the Niger Delta said it had suspended a strike.
But Mr. Ngige explained Wednesday that the matter had been referred to the industrial arbitration panel.
“I have referred the matter to the industrial arbitration panel for reconciliation. If this fails we will take another action,” he said.
The minister explained further that he had convened a meeting at which only Exxon’s representatives and not those of the PENGASSAN labour union had attended.
Industrial unrest by Exxon workers in Nigeria at the end of 2016 disrupted output, delaying loadings by weeks.
The latest industrial action was to protest the sack of 150 workers in December, of which 82 were PENGASSAN members.