BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
NATIONAL of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, has accused the management of Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation, NNPC, and its subsidiary, National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NAPIMS, of promoting unfair labour practices in the Oil and Gas sector.
General Secretary of NUPENG, Comrade Elijah Okougbo, in a chat with Vanguard, blamed both NNPC and NAPIMS for the proliferation of casusalisation, contract staffing and out-sourcing in the Petroleum industry.
He said, “Jobs that are permanent, contracts that would last five years; ten years and above; which also have renewal dates, National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NAPIMS, which is a subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, that approves contractors for reasons best known to its management, will reduce the contracts to one or two years and in the process, the contracts may go to the lowest bidders. So, we think if there should be any probe that is supposed to be carried out in the oil industry, NAPIMS should be a focal point.
“They have been responsible for Shell casualising most of their jobs, they are responsible for Shell contractors not recognizing the union and not agreeing to the unionization of their employees. “NAPIMS is also responsible for Mobil reducing the number of their contracts or even multiplying them where we now find it difficult to get them together to negotiate their conditions of service.
Although some companies were doing well at a stage because we dared them and fought them, it appeared that we are back to square one. Most of them pay peanut wages, the few ones that are paying fairly, they now want to disengage from that responsibility, and they are bringing more contractors with the support of NAPIMS.
Again dubiously, they are seeking the support of Ministry of Labour and because of the fight we have put up against casualisation exercise to make sure that these casuals are converted to permanent establishment, the Ministry of Labour set up stakeholders committee to deliberate on contract staffing in the oil and gas industry.
“That was immediately Chief Emeka Wogu came in 2010 and since then, the committee said it had finished its job and stakeholders were called to deliberate on it. However, our representatives told us that it was a shoddy job.
The Ministry of labour which was fully involved, was supposed to advise both parties; the union representatives and managements. In the face of such stark realities, it appears the ministry of labour is lacking in its responsibilities. Its officials do not want to do the right things.
We are not saying that in its entirety that there may be no casualisation, but permanent jobs, contracts that supposed to last well over five or ten years, should not be reduced to two or one year.
They use such techniques to make people believe that the jobs have no long life span. What we are seeing are situations where NAPIMS, will grant contracts it knows can last for five and ten years, for only two years.”