NIGERIA Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, has vowed to step up its campaign against casualisation of workers as well as other unfair labour practices by employers in the nation’s petroleum industry.
NUPENG in a statement by its Acting General Secretary, Comrade Isaac Aberare, urged the National Assembly in the New Year to examine the Anti-casualisation bill before it thoroughly and pass it into law to stop what it called, “The present modern day slavery by multinationals oil companies and their indigenous collaborators in line with the new trend in international best practice.”
In the statement to its members to mark the Christmas and New Year celebrations, the union felicitated with oil workers and commended their courage and resilience in the struggles in the past year.
According to NUPENG, “It was indeed a challenging year where we had to embark on struggles to protect the interest and welfare of our members, especially in the area of our fight against casualisation, contract labour, redundancies and non-recognition of some of our unionised members.
The struggle is not yet over, as the union will in the year continue to resist the modern day slavery called casualisation. The union assures its members as we enter the New Year of its commitment to fight for the recognition of the unions, where it has been formed, negotiates condition of service and welfare packages for its members.
“The union uses this yuletide season to appeal to the federal government to address the persistent fuel scarcity across the country that is making the populace pay through their noses, for petroleum products. We urge the Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to pay subsidy claims to verified marketers to enable them import fuel to meet the shortfall presently being experienced.
“The truth is that NNPC alone cannot meet the present demands of the nation. We urge the National Assembly in the New Year to examine the anti-casualisation bill before the senate thoroughly and pass it into law, to stop the present modern day slavery by multinationals oil companies and their indigenous collaborators in line with the new trend in international best practice. We cannot continue to allow foreign oil firms to come and enslave our members, pay them pittance while declaring huge profits.”
On the issue of the deregulation of the petroleum sector, the union called on the federal government not to be in a hurry, since the refineries were still working below capacity, saying, “The proposed deregulation of the petroleum sector cannot be import-driven. The government must fix the refineries and commit to building new ones, roads, depots, pipelines, before it can work and acceptable to the oil and gas workers. If this is not done, the oil and gas workers will join forces with the labour movement in Nigeria to resist it.”
The Union also called on the National Assembly, as a matter of urgent national policy to pass the budget without further delay in 2013, so that project implementation can record 100 percent performance before the end of Year 2013.
“The union also calls on the federal government to declare a state of emergency on job creation and security in the country. It has been stated that the unemployment situation has become alarming and a time-bomb which has now made large pool of idle youths to indulge in violent crimes.
“The federal government in partnership with the private sector should pursue the issue of employment with vigour through a new programme of re-industrialisation, so that moribund Textile Companies can resume production while new refineries should be built to absorb many unemployment youths. We state that the feat can be achieved through adequate power supply, good road-networks, ban on importation of goods that can be produced in Nigeria, and take a drastic step to address smuggling and dumping,” the statement added.