Our hearts to families affected. I always like to get out of discussing job cuts as I know what a job does in a life, a family and a community. At Alade Avenue, Ikeja, where I lived when I worked in Diamond Bank Lagos, the area boys hanging along the Fela family residence gave me a title “Chairman”.
Whenever Diamond Bank paid me one of those mammoth salaries – money everywhere – and to celebrate it, I called all the area boys, paid out the mama put and asked them to eat all the food. It was one way of getting even with skipped meals while in college.
That said, learning that Chevron Nigeria is trimming its workforce to a really high number – 25% – is painful. But if you look, Shell is doing the same thing. Royal Dutch Shell Plc plans to cut 9,000 jobs globally, including Nigeria, as part of its cost-cutting measure to manage oil crash. Largely, the oil & gas sector is going through a structural redesign.
Chevron Nigeria Limited has announced it will lay off a quarter of its work force.
The firm said Friday it was “reviewing its manpower requirements in the light of the changing business environment”.
The company said it will continue to evaluate opportunities to improve capital efficiency and reduce operating costs.
“In this process, the company will be streamlining its workforce and improving service delivery and overall performance at all levels,” the company said in a statement signed by Esimaje Brikinn, General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs.
The statement noted that the aim is to have a business that is competitive and an appropriately sized organisation with improved processes.
Meanwhile, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has vowed to resist the move “with all available tools”.
In a statement issued by Chevron Branch of PENGASSAN and signed by its Branch Chairman, Ete Oyegbanren, and Branch Secretary, Lavin Aghaunor, the union claimed the affected workers have already been locked out from the office by Chevron Nigeria Limited under the guise of COVID-19 restrictions.
Our world is changing rapidly before us, and the oil & gas sector is going through this rapid change, with massive career dislocation at scale. Indeed, this no-fossil future is moving faster than most of us think. Yes, do not be surprised if Shell becomes a renewable energy powerhouse in 30 years as I do think that the future of global energy would be electrons and not carbons.
That the oil sector labour union is protesting is expected. It is a tough one because unlike public sector workers, there is no treasury to tap into, in perpetuity, to cover the bills. Nigeria has only four core sectors – financial services, oil & gas, telecoms & foreign funded startups – that pay good wages. If oil & gas begins to see cracks, the implication would be massive across communities.
Time for that diversification to happen in Nigeria.