Employees of Universal Energy Resources Limited have protested against the company’s employment of foreigners as Chief Security Officer and Community Relations Manager of the organisation.
In a protest staged in Uyo on Thursday under the aegis of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG in collaboration with Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, the workers said the action of the company was intolerable.
According to them, the company claimed that there was no qualified Nigerian to take up the jobs either as CSO or CRM.
Speaking on the issue, the South-South Zonal Treasurer, PENGASSAN, Port Harcourt Zone, Mr. Peter Ogbeidi, said the engagement of foreigners as CSO and CRM was a slap on Nigerians.
“We can’t take this insult. How can this company employ foreigners as CSO and CRM on our own land? This is really strange as it can’t happen anywhere else in the world.
“The next thing you hear the company say is that the foreigners are more qualified for these positions than Nigerians. This is a real falsehood.”
Chairperson, UERL, state NUPENG branch, Lucy Udoh, said when the union wrote a letter to the company on the proposal to improve their conditions of service, the company kept fixing unrealistic new dates since 2010.
She stated that when the management of the company was to meet the executives of NUPENG and PENGASSAN on April 17, none of the management staff was available to discuss with the union members who were abandoned at the hotel where the meeting was to hold. Udoh said it sparked the protest, noting that the company was not sincere with matters relating to staff welfare.
In his reaction, the Chief Operations Officer, UERL, Mr. Uffot Ebong, said it was false that the management abandoned the union executives at the hotel.
He explained that the Aero flight they wanted to board to Uyo was cancelled and so they had to take Arik flight to Port Harcourt late in the evening.
“When I was on the Third Mainland Bridge, I received a call that our flight had been cancelled. It was in the evening that we later took Arik Air to Port Harcourt. We arrived in Uyo late yesterday evening.
“We could not ask the union executives to meet with us as we were tired then. Now we are meeting today. We shall let you know the outcome of our meeting,” he said.