ChevronTexaco & PENGASSAN in Strike Negotiations

ChevronTexaco will meet with PENGASSAN leaders in an attempt to keep the current strike action at Shell from spreading to its ranks.

Both sides are sequestered in a Lagos hotel to try to resolve differences on staff welfare, salaries and job security to keep white-collar union Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, or Pengassan, from walking out, the ChevronTexaco official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. He declined to give further details on the talks.

Over the past weeks, union officials have been protesting what they fear is an effort by international oil companies to centralize operations and bring in more expatriate management and shrink local staff.

Pengassan is meeting Tuesday with the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers in Benin Tuesday to discuss measures to stave off job losses at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. NNPC has denied there would be any job cuts. "Even if it is only reorganizing it is bound to have effects on labor. If it continues, we believe the kind of reorganization going on at the NNPC will lead to job cuts," Pengassan General Secretary Bayo Olowoshile told Dow Jones Newswires.

Pengassan Wednesday walked out to protest a restructuring it thinks will cut into their jobs and promotional prospects. Pengassan has locked out all staff from Shell offices in Lagos, Warri and Port Harcourt since the strike, now in its sixth working day, began. Talks with Shell are still going on Tuesday. However, oil production has not been affected.