Shell Nigeria Lock-out Continues

A lock-out by white-collar oil workers at Shell has extended into a third day. Workers are threatening to shut down production and loading activities beginning on Satuday if the situation cannot be resolved by Friday afternoon.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) locked out senior staff at the company's three main offices in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Warri, but oil production was unaffected, union leaders said.

The action began on Wednesday after unions said Shell had not done enough to address their fears over its planned restructuring or "globalization policy."

"The strike action continues today, but we are limiting it to the offices. We are not disrupting production," PENGASSAN deputy secretary general Lumumba Okugbawa said.

He said the union's central working committee would meet again on Friday after it failed to resolve the issue on Thursday. "The meeting was very stormy, but we did not reach any conclusions," Okugbawa said. "Our members are really agitated by this rumor that 50 percent of the Nigerian workforce at Shell will be terminated by mid-September."

A Shell company spokesman in Lagos said management was taking measures to resolve the impasse.

The union has made several demands including moving Shell headquarters to Nigeria, appointing more Nigerians to top jobs, repatriating all non-technical expatriate staff and halting further recruitment of foreigners by Shell Nigeria.