The officials say Abdel-Hakim Hamoud Qasim is in critical condition after Tuesday's self-immolation. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.
His cousin, Mohammed Qasim, says Abdel-Hakim was protesting a complaint he had filed to the Ministry of Petroleum against Calgary-based oil and gas company Nexen (TSX:NXY), which he worked for as a driver for 16 years until 2006.
Mohammed says his cousin was severely injured on the job in Yemen and only paid $3,000 after the accident.
Nexen could not be immediately reached for comment.
A similar act of self-immolation in Tunisia last year helped trigger a series of uprisings in Arab countries, including Yemen.