By Victor AHIUMA-YOUNG
NIGERIA Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, has decried the exploitation of petrol station workers by their employers, saying the workers must be unionized to check employers’ abuses.
NUPENG’s General Secretary, Comrade Isaac Aberare, who spoke at the Delegates Conference of Petrol Station Workers, PSW, branch of NUPENG, in Benin City, Edo State, lamented that the potentials of the PSW Branch had not been fully tapped, insisting that if the potentials were tapped, PSW would be a force to reckon with .
According to him, “the focus of the leadership that will emerge from this conference should be directed to the organization of Petrol Station attendants in all the nooks and crannies of the country.
“There is no place in this country, even the rural areas where you do not have petrol attendants. They are in thousands and yet they have not been fully unionised or integrated into your fold. This is a big challenge that you have to put on the drawing board to fashion out way, methods and strategies to unionise the real petrol station workers and protect their interests from the exploitation of their employers.
“It is saddening when you listen to their woes and the pittance paid them. The parent union is also worried about the non-unionisation of these workers, because they are the potential force that will make any nation-wide strike very effective. The combination of Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, and fully integrated PSW members will bring any government to its knees, when we embark on a nation-wide strike. I therefore enjoin you all to give this challenge a food for thought and get cracking on how to fully unionise them.”
Speaking on “leadership and accountability”, Aberare said, “Leadership and accountability are interwoven and intertwined, as leaders must be accountable all ways to the led.
“A leader must live above board, he must have integrity, be focused, organised, intelligent and listen to his members. He must be able to attend to their problems, pursue their welfare and take risks on their behalf. A leader must be exposed, knowledgeable and have the ability to communicate. He or she must not be far from its members. To be a good leader, you must be open and establish a good communication channel with your members.”
“On accountability, a leader must not be corrupt or enrich himself at the expense of its members. It is sad to say that the problem, we have today in the polity is that our leaders are corrupt even at the national level of the society. Lack of accountability and transparency has become a social malaise and that is why nothing appears to be working.”