The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) held its National Education Seminar in Abuja, last Wednesday, with a threat that the union may embark on a nation-wide industrial action by this week over the anti-labour practices of the International Oil Companies (IOCs).
In his key note address, the President of NUPENG, Comrade Igwe Achese, said the national Education Seminar, is part of his administrative policy to create awareness and improve the skills of members on modern day industrial relations practice.
According to him, knowledge is power and ignorance is a disease, adding that it is against this background that his leadership set aside the period to bring the members together to brainstorm in an interactive session with experts drawn from difference fields to enlighten you on new methods and techniques of industrial relations.
He said the national seminar also affords comrades from various branches of NUPENG to socialize amongst themselves, compare notes and proffer solutions on how to bring about a new re-awakening in the union.
The NUPENG President said the current spate of redundancy in the oil and gas industry is worrisome, as workers in the oils and gas industry are being retrenched on daily bases.
He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to intervene and prevail on the multinationals and service companies to stop the current spate of retrenchment in the industry.
Achese pointed out that the actions of the multinationals run contrary to the government zero/tolerance for job losses and it is condemnable and unacceptable to the union.
He warned of a possible strike this week, if government failed to call to order the multinational companies who have engaged in anti-labour and union activities.
“Let me use this opportunity to call on the Federal Government to intervene in the unresolved labour issues with the following companies so that we do not witness a nationwide industrial action by next week when our 21-day ultimatum expires.” He said.
He condemned the anti-union posture of the international oil companies as the constitution stipulates freedom of association and the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 87 and 98 of which Nigeria is a signatory.
He said the anti-union postures of the multinationals is brewing tension in the oil and gas industry.
Achese said: “We are opposed to the sale of the nation’s assets, especially the refineries. We believe that the proposed sale in unnecessary and not in our national interest, as they will be sold to their cronies as scraps. The union will resist any attempt to sell these national assets and advise that government should look at other areas to revamp the economy.
“The state. of our roads are still nothing to write home about as they are all dilapidated. We condemn the slow pace of work by the contractors recently mobilized to site.”