13 February 2014, Lagos – Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, has called on the Federal Government to compel major oil marketers and International Oil Companies, IOCs, in the country to respect the nation’s labour law to avoid industrial unrest in the sector.
NUPENG claimed the major marketers and multi-national oil companies have continued to disregard the nation’s law, particularly the Labour Law on freedom of association, warning that should the perceived anti-labour practices and other nefarious activities by oil companies remain unchecked, the union would have no other option than to declare a nationwide strike.
In a statement by its President, Achese Igwe, the union called on President Goodluck Jonathan, the Minister of Labour and the National Assembly to quickly intervene before it degenerates into industrial unrest.
According to the statement “NUPENG has watched with great concern the activities of oil majors and multi-nationals in the industry and warns of imminent fuel scarcity if their nefarious activities are not checked by embarking on nation-wide strike without notice.
“The new drive of the oil majors and multi-nationals amounts to sabotage and if not controlled, will lead to an unhealthy atmosphere in the sector. We call on Mr. President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the Minister of Labour and the National Assembly to quickly intervene before the bubble bursts.
“These current actions are all efforts geared towards sabotaging the economy of the country and to impoverish its citizenry, particularly the contract workers in their system.
“Some of the provocative anti-union policies and decisions have remained unresolved despite the mediatory role played by the NNPC, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity and the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources. These include the unresolved transitional issues of the Chevron contract workers who transited into new contracting companies since January, 1, 2013, and 14 months after discussions, some of the issues are yet to be resolved.
“NUPENG lamented that it made several attempts at re-opening discussions on the outstanding transition issues but all to no avail, saying the understanding reached that NAPIMS should convene a meeting to resolve the outstanding transition issues as they affect the contract workers has not materialised.
“The new labour contractors are resisting unionisation of the workers with tacit support from Chevron management. NUPENG reveals that in recent times, some of the multi-national companies have began a systematic lay off of our members who work as labour contract workers in their companies and thereafter replace them with service contracts. These companies include Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited and Agip Oil Company Limited.”
“The management of Mobil Producing on November, 30, 2013 laid-off over 200 contract workers under the guise that the contracts have expired and that new contracts will also commence to replace the old ones forthwith.
“In the case of the Nigeria Agip Oil Company Limited, over 50 labour contract workers have been penciled down for termination without adherence to due process.
– Victor Ahiuma-Young, Vanguard