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Labour petitions FG over expatriate quota abuse

Labour, minimum wage
Nigerian Labour Congress

…Claims 500 of 650 staff of Sterling Global Oil coy ‘re expatriates

By Victor Young

THE allegations of expatriate quota abuse in Nigeria is assuming an alarming proportion especially in Petroleum industry.  Increasingly, it has become one of the major sources of conflict between Organized Labour and employers in the industry.

The perceived  expatriate quota abuse has forced leaders of  Fitters Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, FISSAN, to petition  the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, claiming that of about 650 staff of  Sterling Global Oil company operates an LPG project in Kwale Delta State, no fewer than 500 are expatriates.

In the petition titled “Nigerian jobs have been hijacked by foreigners; your urgent intervention is needed.”, FISSAN General Secretary, Morrister Idibra, recalled that the issue of expatriate quota was brought to the notice of the Minister during a recent courtesy call by leaders of United Congress of Nigeria, ULC.

He noted that Sterling Global a company involves in the construction of a giant LPG Plant in Delta State was one of the companies officially cited.

According to the petition: “At present, Sterling Global Oil Company operates an LPG project in Kwale Delta State which has about 650 workers. 500 of the workers are expatriates. The company has about 350 fitters and welders, but the sad story is that only one fitter and two welders are Nigerians. The rest are foreigners. Our efforts at having a meeting on how qualified Nigerians can be employed have fallen on deaf ears as the management has continued to display utmost impunity.

“However, whenevergovernment functionaries schedule visit to the site, the management  always hide these foreigners in their offices within the yard and hire some persons who they will present as Nigerians that are doing the work.

No govt’s visit

Unfortunately, those government officials’ visits never cared to know from the unions’ leadership if the required personnel were employed. A case in point is thedelegation of government that came on October  17, 2019. We got to know about the visit when our members noticed that management was hiding the foreigners in offices within the yard. They  informed the visiting team about the activities of the company.

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“Regrettably, the visiting team refused to listen to our members and left with the impression that foreigners were not on site.This sad development needs your urgent attention and intervention. You need to find out the information given before work permits were granted  to these foreigners.  Did they genuinely enter this country? What is the rationale for preference to foreigners when there are qualified Nigerians?  Who are the individuals and officers responsible for this gross violation of our laws?

Executive order 5

Is this in line with the Executive Order No 5 of President Muhammadu Buhari?  Certainly, not. If this is not an economic sabotage and deliberate disregard of the policies and programmes of the federal government, then we do not think any other action falls within this category.

“We think it is important that those who undermine our nation are checked and brought to book.  As a patriot and one who is deeply acquainted with the shenanigans of these companies, we know these actions run counter to your well-known principles and values.

“We  appreciate your effort so  far because we are  sure that it was your actions after our visit that set in motion that visitation team. However, we believe that the team’s effort was sabotaged by the company or members of the team  who decided not to do the obvious to unravel this continued theft of Nigerian jobs by Asians in collaboration with some unpatriotic Nigerians. We suggest you organise a surprise visit to the company in conjunction with the organized labour and the community to see things for yourself.”

Allegations unfounded

Efforts to speak with the managment of Sterling Global Oil Company, were unsuccessful.

However, a managment staff of the company who spoke on condition of anonymity, said “These are bogus allegationsns without substance.”

Vanguard

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