PENGASSAN Workers Picket TotalFinaElf Offices in Nigeria

The members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, or PENGASSAN, have threatened to disrupt operations for TotalFinaElf in Nigeria if their demands are not met. The move was prompted by the inability of the TotalFinaElf management to address the grievances of the workers.

The General Secretary of PENGASSAN, Kenneth Narebor told a news conference on Wednesday that shutting down TotalFinaElf's production would be the next step in compelling the company's management to meet workers' demands. "Currently, the workers have stopped work, but we may be forced to shut down Elf production if the management thinks our mild protest now is for a joke," Narebor said. PENGASSAN led the workers to picket Elf's Lagos office on Wednesday. According to Narebor, the company's Head Office in Port Harcourt would also be picketed on Thursday.

PENGASSAN confirmed yesterday that the crisis in the oil company followed police brutality of workers who were poised to present their demands to a visiting delegation from TotalFinalElf's home office in France last weekend. The grievances of TotalFinaElf workers included anti-union policy in the company where union officials were subjected to victimization, apartheid policy of management where only the expatriates were allowed to occupy Elf Housing Estate in Port Harcourt and denial of equal cross-posting rights for Nigerians.

A meeting between the management and the union was scheduled for Wednesday, however, the union said that rather than the meeting, management only locked out the workers.