by Victor AHIUMA-YOUNG
WORKERS in the nation’s petroleum industry, in a bid to address the proliferation of contract and service employment in sector which they perceived as unfair labour practices and potentials for industrial unrest, have presented a position paper on how it should be addressed to avoid a disruption of the industrial peace. Â At a tripartite stakeholders’ meeting of operators in the industry, held in Abuja under the auspices the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, under the umbrella of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, the workers lamented contract Staffing remained a big challenge to all sectors of the nation’s economy, not only in the oil and gas industryÂ In the position paper by the President and General Secretary of PENGASSAN, Comrades Babatude Ogun and Bayo Olowoshile respectively, they posited that the drivers â€œof this anti-labour practice have argued that some jobs in the Oil and Gas Industry, by their irregular and terminal nature, are best done without fully employed staff. Â This argument has become largely untenable given that most Contract Staff are hired to do establishment jobs meant to be on regular basis over many years but these categories of recycled experienced Contract Staff have little or no chance for conversion to regular employment. The Association duly note and acknowledge that Service Contract of genuine and proper application cannot be completely eliminated, given the fact that these are specialized jobs provided by organized and structured companies with the entire wherewithal to operate as such; however, it is PENGASSAN resolve that Labour Contract has become a ill-wind that should not be tolerated in whatever gab it is dressed in view of the persistently unguided abuses, the prejudicial and the unfair labour tendencies that are endemic in the labour contract applications.â€â€œLabour Contract Staffing is a common staffing feature in the: Upstream (Crude Oil Exploration and Production) Oil and Gas Companies; Downstream (Petroleum and Petrochemicals Products Refining, Marketing and Distribution) Oil and Gas Companies; Oil and Gas Servicing and Service Providers Companies Government Corporation in the Oil and Gas Sector. The terminologies use to depict the claims for, and mode of Staffing: Labour Contract which connotes the deployment of human resources or human capital potentials (as labour or personnel) under a third party arrangement, which mainly plays no role other than being a paymaster. Service Contract which could be an individual or organization that provides a specialized, consultancy or professional service, with own. Personnel facilities or equipment under a â€œContract for Serviceâ€ term and agreement.. Â Employment Contracts which relates to job positions occupied by workers who is on â€œContract of Serviceâ€ or a regular basis over a non-determinable period of years. Manpower or Direct Hire contract, defined as a labour contract that exist between a company and an individual through direct hire without the full complements of benefits as in a regular employment. NYSC and SIWES Â This could be regarded as a form of contracting if an organization reserves about 70% of its work force for National Youth Service members or Industrial AttachÃ©s’â€Characteristics of labour, service contractExplaining what the association adjudged the characteristics of both labour and service, said: â€œRoll-over job which is continuous in nature and whose supervision and appraisal is done by the user company. The user company determines the day-to-day tasks and assignments.
Labour Contract Staff are found occupying positions that is identifiable in the organogram of the company. For a service Â Features of specialized company providing special expertise, professional or consultancy services over a given period of time to client-user company for agreed terms; Â Service company stands as independent company that trains and development own employees for the specialized expertise, professional or consultancy services, and usually deploy own work tools and equipment. Such company have such skills, tools and equipment that the user company cannot provide; recalling the resolution reached at 2001 oil industry seminar â€œCasual and Contract Employmentâ€, the oil workers’ union said, â€œThe right of Contract and Casual workers to Unionize and their entitlement to recognition in accordance with Section 24 of the Trade Unions Act (Cap 437) LFN. It is an unfair labour practice to deny labour the right to unionize and is a contravention to the provisions of Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; and ILO Conventions 87 & 98 among other key ILO Conventions on Decent Work. That Contract and Casual workers should be given equal opportunity for regular employment when vacancies exist. This is to enable these category of staff have the first opportunity to employment before outsiders because of their on the job advantage.
That staff on similar jobs, particularly on establishment positions should be accorded fair and equitable remuneration. His is to ensure that Contract Staff who possess same basic qualification and skill as the regular staff are not only properly compensated and placed, but also positioned to undergo necessary employment qualifying and fitness test and examination at periodical intervals. The resolution has since been watered down by lack of commitment to enforcement.â€â€œAfter exhaustive deliberation on the various efforts made on the subject to date on the different types and implications of the Contract Staffing categories, the Association resolved thus: PENGASSAN has to ensure that Nigeria respect individual and collective rights of labour, as done in other countries. Specifically cited as touchstones, are relevant conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO); Labour laws and the Nigeria constitution, that all Contract Staff in the Oil and Gas Industry must enjoy the guaranteed rights to unionization and collective bargaining. That roll-over of labour contract should continue. That at least 10% of labour contract staff must be converted every year; that the Association should demand and ensure proper appraisal of labour contract staff in line with the company’s appraisal policy.
That redundancy/severance packages must not be signed by any branch without reference to the National Secretariat. That the companies operating within the Export Free Zone should allow free right to Unionization and Industrial Relations activities in line with Section 40 of the Nigeria Constitution. That where contract staff are hired to fill these positions, such staff are to be converted within a maximum of two years as applicable in other countries like Ghana, Canada, Angola and other OPEC countries; Â That establishment position jobs should be occupied by regular staff Â only.â€