GRADUATES of Chevron Vocational Training Programme, VTP 5 and 6 under the auspices of National Association of Itsekiri Graduates, NAIG, National Association of Ilaje Graduates and National Association of Ijaw Graduates and other graduates across Nigeria turned down 50 job slots instead of the original 151 that graduated in 2014.
The groups which appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity led by Hon. Francis Onyewuchi, Wednesday evening had petitioned Chevron for not employing 151 graduates of its Vocational Training Programme as promised since 2014.
The committee had met with all the critical stakeholders on May 17 but could not resolve the matter and fixed July 17 for the hearing.
In his submission, the Deputy Managing Director of Chevron, Mr Monday Ovuede who led other management staff of the company argued that the essence of the VTP is to help host communities and other Nigerians across board that it was not supposed to be a permanent feature. He told the panelists that “as it is now business is low due to global recession and for now Chevron can only accommodate 50 out of the 151 graduates and if business improves we may reconsider others. ”
We can’t continue to fund the programme so we will scrap it because the argument that they are treated like contract staff is uncalled because I joined Chevron in 1990 and when an opportunity came I applied. At this point, leader of the groups, Mr Collins Edema was asked to make his own submission and he simply told the committee that “we shall accept nothing less than the 151 graduands of VTP 5 and 6 because many of us believed that we were shortchanged. “Even the trainer, Pace is not a certified trainer as the certificates he issued are not recognised by OPITO and even the tax workers’ pay are not remitted to the Federal Inland Revenue Service,FIRS, this development is not funny at all, Edema added.
The lawmakers at this point demanded that the trainer, Pace, represented by Ayo Otuyelu who denied the claims that the certificates issued are authentic. He told the members that his tax remittances are intact and promised to furnish the committee all details and 63 Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation, OPITO certificates before the close of work on Thursday.
Not still satisfied, Edema told the committee that his earlier prayers which include the following: That Chevron Nigeria Limited be compelled to issue to our Itsekiri graduates trainees their well-deserved and earned Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organization (OPITO) certificates. That the trainees of the Chevron ‘s Vocational Training Program(simply called VTP5&VTP6) having worked for about three(3)years after the completion of their training should be immediately converted as permanent staff of Chevron Nigeria Limited.
He explained that:”This is because nowhere in this world in the petroleum industry that trainees who have been working for about three (3) years after the completion of their training will or should be dropped or threaten to be dropped for crying out over such bonded treatment being meted out to them.
“We therefore humbly urge you to use your good office to regularize the status of our Itsekiri graduates and orher group trainees and also see to the issuance of the said Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organization (OPITO) certificates. “Let it be known that we have copiously and painstakingly articulated our grievance