Senior ExxonMobil Workers in Nigeria Prepare to Strike

Senior ExxonMobil workers in Nigeria are threatening to go on strike if the company does not meet their demands for a pay raise, company and union officials said today.

"We gave the management a seven-day notice with effect from last Friday [May 12] to review our remunerations or they will be faced with an industrial action that will paralyze the company's operations," a spokesman for senior staff association PENGASSAN said yesterday.

A company spokesman said ExxonMobil is engaged in talks with staff members to try to avert the strike.

"There is nothing to worry about. The company is negotiating with the union to resolve the matter," spokesman Paul Arinze said.

ExxonMobil exports around 650,000 barrels of oil per day from Nigeria and is the country's second-largest oil producer (Agence France-Presse).

Meanwhile, the country's top foreign oil operator, Royal Dutch Shell, is reconsidering its Nigerian security after recent kidnappings and attacks on installations.

"You have to rethink completely and pull up your socks," company CEO Jeroen van der Veer said. "We now have experiences that we didn't have before, so you have to do things differently."

The kidnappings of several Shell oil contractors and militant attacks have cut production back by 455,000 barrels per day since February.

The news of Shell's determination to strengthen its security in the Niger Delta comes as the company embarks on its annual meeting, where the company's record on community relations and environmental protection in Nigeria and elsewhere are expected to be a topic of concern (Carola Hoyos, Financial Times [subscription required]).

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