THE NEW YORK TIMES: Shell Workers Embark on Two - Day Strike: “…if workers' demands are not met, the next strike will aim to shut down Shell's entire operations…”: “Nigeria accounts for one-tenth of Shell's global production.” (ShellNews.net)
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: October 8, 2004
Filed at 1:22 a.m. ET
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- Nigerian employees of oil giant Royal Dutch/Shell embarked on a two-day ``warning strike'' Thursday to protest looming job cuts under a company plan to reduce costs and boost profits, company and union officials said.
The country's two main oil unions called the strike, which will continue Friday, to express their opposition to severance packages being offered members that have been declared redundant, a union official said.
``It's all limited to the offices, it's not targeting oil production and exports yet,'' said the union official on condition of anonymity.
However, if workers' demands are not met, the next strike will aim to shut down Shell's entire operations, he said.
A Shell spokesman in Lagos confirmed the strike and planned job cuts due to be completed by December, but said its oil production and exports have not been affected.
``You can't have the type of restructuring we're conducting without having points of disagreements with the unions. But we're talking,'' said the official who didn't want to be named.
Shell pumps about half of all oil produced in Nigeria, which is the world's seventh-largest oil exporter and the source of one-fifth of U.S. oil imports.
Shell announced in March it planned to streamline its operations in Nigeria, cutting jobs to boost production by half a million barrels a day and reducing production cost to $1.50 from about $2.20 a barrel.
The powerful white-collar and blue-collar unions opposed the moves, alleging the company was skewing jobs in favor of expatriates. In a joint statement they warned Shell to brace ``for the effects of the inevitable showdown which will be unleashed on the country'' if any of Shell's Nigerian staff lose their jobs as planned.
Nigeria accounts for one-tenth of Shell's global production.