The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers [NUPENG], has signaled the intension protest over what it described as ‘worsening working conditions in the petroleum industry in Nigeria.’
President of the group, Prince Williams Akporeha, who spoke at the opening ceremony of the group’s 2022 national industrial relations seminar, in Abuja, lamented that in addition, members of the union are working under terrible conditions of service.
According to him, employers of labour in the industry are still engaging workers under casual status, as against the law. Akporeha said “We all desire work opportunities that are productive and deliver a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for all, better prospects of personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives as well as equal opportunity and treatment for all women and men; that is decent work.
“But over the years, some employers of labour in the oil and gas industry have neglected these principles of decent work. Employment in the oil and gas industry has been reduced to terrible working conditions and ill-treatment of workers.
“The employers have continued to embark upon casualization and outsourcing of workers without standard which is an abuse of human dignity and unfair treatment.
“These employers of labour in the oil and gas industry have put various hurdles on the track for workers not to unionize and express themselves, thereby infringing on their fundamental human rights and freedom of association.
“The wages paid these workers in Nigeria are not commensurate with their output compared with their peers in other climes, as they are being exploited.
“As a matter of fact, what we should be propagating now is making sure oil and gas workers are well paid, ensuring a safe and better working environment with social protection, and safeguarding their rights and privileges. These are the factors that make up the standards for decent work and individual harmony in the workplace globally.
“We are really disturbed by the attitudes of various managements in the maltreatment of workers through low wages, no-provision of safety tools at workplaces, resulting to complete dehumanization,” he said
According to him, the union is warming up to match against government on the developments.
“The panacea is to confront them headlong through advocacy, lobbying the National Assembly to enact laws to protect these workers,” he said, adding that if peaceful means fails, NUPENG would be forced to empty its members into the streets.
By Bosco Anayo