Mobil blamed for increased unemployment


1,000 junior workers drawn from the oil company’s host communities were sacked

The President General of Ekid People’s Union in Eket, Akwa Ibom, Chief Ekpu Johnson, on Monday faulted Mobil for sacking 1,000 workers at the Qua Iboe oil fields.

Johnson said the massive sack of junior workers drawn from the company’s host communities has increased unemployment rate in the area.

He said it was a wrong move, adding that Mobil was supposed to provide employment to members of the communities it operated in, as part of its social obligations to reduce youth unemployment and restiveness.

Johnson lamented that the oil company was cutting down the number of personnel used by its service contractors.

Meanwhile, the sacked workers, while protesting their sack without benefits, turned back bus loads of oil workers en route the terminal.

The Qua Iboe Terminal building, which houses offices and crude processing facilities, remained under lock during the protest which lasted between 4a.m. and 10p.m. last Thursday. 

Mobil, an affiliate of ExxonMobil, a US energy firm, outsources most of its labour needs to contractors who recruit unskilled and semi-skilled workers on its behalf from its host communities. 

According to Johnson, the plight of the relieved workers had stimulated concerns in the communities. He called on the oil company to honour the agreement reached in 2007 with the workers’ representative. 

“It is obvious that they reserve the right to hire and fire. But when you fire someone, you fulfill your obligations and moreover, these categories of workers are part of their social obligations to our communities,” he said.

“It is unfortunate that Mobil restructured its terms of labour contract in its cost cutting measures without thinking of the social problems it would cause in the communities, only to pass the blame on the contractors.”

Johnson warned the oil firm against their nonchalant attitude, adding that they were only trying to shift blame to the contractors, who were simply carrying out the instruction given to them.

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