The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) on Sunday issued a 21-day ultimatum to employers in the Nigerian oil and gas to address workers welfare to ameliorate their sufferings. The President of NUPENG Prince Williams Akporeha, said at a news conference in Lagos that over 500 union members had not been paid after working for some international oil companies.
Akporeha said that apart from not paying their salaries, the companies had continuously ill-treated the workers who were also casuals. He said the companies did not allow for unionisation, refused collective bargaining negotiation, non-payment of end of contract benefits and practice other anti-labour activities.
“This is alien to our extant industrial rules. Some of the workers have died, while others are roaming the streets because they could not get their money.“A prominent oil company which is among the debtors claimed that it cannot locate the contractor who hired the workers to do the job. This is sad,’’ Akporeha said.
He also said that the union was dismayed about the activities of some contract workers’ contractor that were engaged by some oil companies that had refused to pay workers their benefits after service. He urged the oil companies to prevail on such contractors to do the needful as it was criminal and a slap to the government.
The union leader added that it was unfair that the Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) had failed to implement the 2016 agreement reached with the union on tanker drivers.“It is few months to the expiration of the agreement and Petroleum Tanker Drivers have shown considerable tolerance and endurance in the denial of their rights,’’ he said.
Akporeha said that the workers had risked their lives to contribute to development of the economy, especially in the downstream value chain. He said that the union was against multinational companies enslaving the workers and causing them to live in precarious conditions.
The union leader warned that the case would be reported to the world body to take decisive action if the organisations failed to respect the government and its laws and settle the workers. He said the ultimatum would take effect from tomorrow and urged the affected organisations to resolve contending issues to avoid further action.