From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
Disengaged workers of Total E & P Nigeria Limited have threatened to shut down operations of the company across Rivers State if they fail to recall them to work within the next 21 days.
The sacked workers numbering 53 made the threat through the Niger Delta Youth Movement (NDYM), a prominent organisation in the region.
According to the group, the sacked workers are all indigenes of Egi Community in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of the state, host community of Total, and wonder why they should be disengaged when they only requested for permanent engagement.
Speaking, Austin Okpara, Chairman of NDYM, said they have given Total Nigeria Limited 21-day ultimatum to recall the sacked workers or face total lockdown of activities.
Mr Okpara spoke in Port Harcourt, while briefing newsmen on their plan to shut down operations of the multinational company by Monday, March 23, 2020 unless step is taken to recall affected workers.
According to the group chairman “Enough is enough. We have the capacity to be part of Total in Rivers. Egi is the mainstay of Total reason that they get their oil and gas from the land.
“In 1994, there was a total lockdown of activities of Total, and then it was Elf. They had an agreement to fix host community in the company. In 2002 because of Total unprofessional activities, there was an eruption in Egi which the land has not fully recovered till now.
“Again, during Total 50 years celebration, the Managing Director, promised to staff Egi indigenes on contract work, rather than keeping to the promised, engaged youths were sacked. It happened after in 2014 some of the contract workers agitated that they staffed. They were sacked without compensation”.
Also in a letter addressed to the MD of Total E & P Nigeria Limited made available to newsmen at the briefing, the group demanded for justice, equity, fairness and peace in the matter, stressing that failure to recall the workers will amount to injustice and that they are ready to follow it up to justice.
“We write to remind the management of Total E&P Nig. Ltd that they have not complied with the demand we made asking them to immediately recall the 53 sacked Egi Community workers who most of them are members of Niger Delta Youth Movement.
“Unfortunately, it is heart rendering to note that till date all request and appeals from various groups and well respected individuals to you to recall these Egi Community workers have been deliberately rebuffed.
“This letter is not an appeal but a demand for justice, equity, fairness and peace. Your obstinate refusal to recall these sack workers is obvious and a direct confrontation on us and we shall continue to demand for justice by any means necessary until workers are recalled.
“We equivocally reinstate our demand: the immediate recalled of all unjustifiable sacked Egi Community workers. You have 21 days to address these issues or face shutdown of Total facilities”, the group threatened.
Some of the sacked victims that spoke with The AUTHORITY lamented that the action has caused them and their families untold hardship.