WORKERS in nation’s petroleum industry, have given conditions under which companies operating in the country’s oil and gas industry should be allowed operate within the ambit of local content Act recently signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Under the umbrella of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN and its Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, counterpart, the oil workers said among others, that no company that is anti-labour should be considered for any job in the country Oil and Gas Sector.
President of PENGASSAN, Comrade Babatunde Ogun, who made the feeling of the oil workers known, said: â€œThe Nigerian Content Policy Law is a welcome development in the country if so implemented in a way that it will be beneficial to the Nigerian economy and the Nigerian people. As defined, Nigeria Content is the quantum of composite value added or created in the Nigerian economy through the utilization of Nigerian human and material resources for the provision of goods and services to the Oil and Gas industry within acceptable quality, health, safety and environmental standards, in order to stimulate the development of indigenous capabilities. While the Law was in the process of passage at the National Assembly, the two in house unions in the Oil and Gas industry, the PENGASSAN and NUPENG, supported it because we see it as the right way to protect the interest of Nigerians and to reduce unemployment in the country. As we rightly advised then, there should be strict adherence to the tenets of the Law to ensure that operations in the Oil and Gas industry is domesticated to provide maximum benefits and gains to Nigeria and Nigerians, create job opportunities, and wealth for the citizens. As a follow up to the tenets of the Nigerian Content Law and in furtherance to the constitutional rights of the workers as enshrined in Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution, we, PENGASSAN and NUPENG demand that no company, including members of the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria, PETAN that is anti-labour should be considered for any job in the country Oil and Gas Sector. We also demand that the government should ensure that any company that wants to operate in the Oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria in line with this Law has union presence and Collective Bargaining Agreement, CBA with the two unions, PENGASSAN and NUPENG.â€
â€œAny attempt to give jobs to any company that do not have CBA with the union will be counter-productive, as this will be vehemently resisted and can cause industrial disharmony in the nation’s Oil and Gas Sector. We also demand that no casuals must work in any company that will be considered to participate in the oil and gas operations under this scheme. We therefore, want to use this opportunity to advise that urgent steps be taken by the various agencies in the Oil and Gas sector to put in place necessary mechanisms to check these abuses. The issue of local content should be more than in the name for oil companies or their chief executives and directors. Most importantly, there are occasions where the lower cadres are filled with Nigerians and the top management and middle cadres are filled with foreigners, this arrangement is not in the interest of local content which is put in place to develop the human capacity and reduce employment in the country. Nigerian Content Law can be counter productive, if the government refuses to implement all the laws and rules governing the use of expatriate quotas in the country. As we have rightly pointed out in the past, the Nigerian Immigration Service, the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, must work together to ensure compliance with rules and laws guiding the expatriate quotas. In that wise, the government should adhere strictly to the provisions of the Nigerian Content Law.â€