Full Text of Press Conference Addressed NUPENG President Comrade Prince Williams Akporeha, At The Union’s National Secretariat Jibowu, Lagos, On Saturday June 2, 2018.
21 DAYS ULTIMATUM TO NARTO BY NUPENG AND OTHER INDUSTRY PLAYERS OVER NON IMPLEMENTATION OF COLLECTIVE BERGAINING AGREEMENT FOR TANKER DRIVERS & OTHER ANTI LABOUR ISSUES IN THE NIGERIA OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY
Good afternoon gentlemen and ladies of the Fourth Estate of the realm for honouring our invitation despite the difficulty you face in moving around the city at a time like this.
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has been ridiculously given names and needlessly accused of having penchants for calling for industrial actions for so long a time, yet the flagrant refusal by various employers in the Nigeria oil and gas sector and successive governments to attend to working conditions and welfare issues involving our patriotic and hardworking members continued unabated.
Strikingly exasperating is the continuous, intentional and unmethodical, wicked redundancies, casualization, ill-treatment, indecent and precarious working conditions of oil and gas workers ranging from refusal to allow unionization, refusal to allow collective bargaining negotiation, nonpayment of end of contract benefits, and other anti- labour practices against our members by both indigenous and multinational oil and gas companies in Nigeria, which are utterly alien to our extant industrial rules.
Specifically, gentlemen and ladies of the Press, we found it extremely important to express our displeasure over failure of the employers of our Petroleum Tanker Drivers members (The Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners- NARTO) to implement the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) reached with the Union since 2016. As we address you today, it is just few months to the expiration of the said agreement, yet, most NARTO members have wickedly and callously refused and failed to honour its words or follow the path of integrity by executing what the association accented to.
There is no doubt absolutely that, the Petroleum Tanker Drivers have shown considerable endurance, patience and tolerance in the face of blatant deprivation and denial of their legitimate rights, even while toiling days and nights under excruciating working conditions, putting their lives on the line to move the economy of our nation forward especially in the downstream value chain. Granting these hard working Nigerians their entitlements and rights should not be a difficult issue.
Similarly, we condemn in strongest term how oil and gas workers in the industry are being treated by the multinational companies who use them as slaves in their motherland. These portfolio investors cannot continue to make billions in our country whilst their employees who are Nigerians suffer gross impoverishment and other precarious conditions; sadly this is reducing their life expectancy and creating physical and psychological adverse effects in them. This can no longer be tolerated.
However, as Labour Correspondents you will recall that there was a joint press statement issued by the leadership of both Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) in May, 2018 condemning Service Level Agreement (SLA) which was flippantly reached between the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS).
NUPENG on its part remains resolute to ensure that reduction of contract circle to six (6) months duration be reversed.
The Council-in-Session finds the agreement ridiculous and unfortunate and wonders how NCDMB allowed desperate OPTS to arm-twist it into making mockery of the key thrust of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act of 2010.
In similar, the Union is greatly dismayed about the activities of some contract workers’ contractors that are engaged by some oil and gas multinationals who have willfully refused to pay Nigerian workers their ‘end of contract benefits’ having relieved them from active service. This is not only criminal but we see it as a slap on Nigeria and its government. It is also the responsibility of these oil companies whose contractors are culpable of this reprehensible and despicable act to prevail on them in order to revert to honour and decency.
If these companies have little or no respect for our institutions and extant labour laws, the Union is set to expose them at the global stage where more decisive actions would be taken. We will take the battle to their respective global board room and expose their nefarious activities to their global clients.
As a union that is strongly committed to promoting, preserving and protecting the interests of the working class, we cannot remain unperturbed and watch the rot and deterioration in employment relations matters where our members stand as victims in such precarious circumstances and fail to intervene and offer them succor and respite.
It is in this light, Gentlemen and ladies of the Press, that we have the authority to inform you, that at the end of NUPENG Council-in-Session meeting which held on Saturday, 26th May, 2018 at Owu Crown Hotel, Ibadan, Oyo State the Union unanimously resolved to issue twenty one days (21) ultimatum for positive resolution of the demands of NUPENG to the leadership of NARTO, IOCs and other key players, failure upon which, we shall not hesitate to pursue further legitimate steps to seek redress within shortest possible time in the interest of our members if these ugly trends are not reversed forthwith.
We therefore urge all stakeholders concerned particularly the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Nigerian Contents Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Oil and Gas Private Trade Sector (OPTS) , NARTO, NNPC, Shell Petroleum Development Company, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mobil Oil Producing and the Akwa Ibom State government ( over Universal Energy issue) etc to urgently apprehend the looming industrial relation crisis by complying with our demands for the sake of industrial peace and harmony.
I thank you for your kind attention. God bless you all.