TEXT OF NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF NUPENG AFTER CWC MEETING ON FRIDAY SEPT 27, 2019

FULL TEXT OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA UNION OF PETROLEUM AND NATURAL GAS WORKERS (NUPENG), COMRADE (PRINCE) WILLIAMS AKPOREHA, AT THE END OF THE CENTRAL WORKING COMMITTEE MEETING (CWC) OF THE UNION AT JIBOWU ON FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2019

Good afternoon gentlemen and ladies of the fourth estate of the realm, we deeply cherish your timely response to our invitation to this important press conference inspite of your tight schedule in your respective beats.

Today’s invitation is essentially designed to draw the attention of Nigerian Government and all relevant stakeholders in the Oil and Gas industry to the numerous germane issues that are impacting and affecting the interest and affairs of our members, as you are aware that our primary objectives are to promote, defend and advance the economic, social rights and wellbeing of our hard working members.

In pursuant of our core mandates as enumerated above, CWC-in-Session is deeply alarmed by several challenging situations that are confronting our industry and the nation at large which are directly responsible to the increasing levels of poverty and unemployment in the Country.

1.  INDECENT EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS TERMS

There is a growing trend of indecent employment contract system of three, six and maximum of twelve months being introduced and practiced by the International oil Companies (IOCs) and their Labour Contractors in the Oil and Gas Industry and is a major concern to the leadership of NUPENG.

CWC-in-session seriously frowns at this imposition of indecent work condition by various International Oil Companies (IOCs) and their local collaborators as it is illegal, unfair, and inhuman to keep giving a worker three, six and twelve months employment contract and keep rolling it over for several years.

Our statutory institutions and agencies saddled with the responsibility of protecting Workers job interest must start addressing these challenges of workers exploitation and abuses now.

Nigerian labour laws are being flagrantly flouted with impunity by the employers, while our Statutory Agencies and institutions are fiddling and sadly the situation is getting worse by the day.

NUPENG wonders what sort of maximisation of Nigerian’s participation in the Oil and Gas operations will arise from the present unhealthy contract circle in the industry which has the strength to further impoverish workers in the Oil and Gas industry.
We demand immediate stop to this unfortunate trend in the interest of industrial peace and harmony.

2.  ANTI LABOUR POSTURES OF OIL AND GAS COMPANIES

CWC-in-Session is calling on the Federal Government and other relevant authorities for the umpteenth time, to call to order Multinational and Indigenous Oil and Gas Companies that are constantly exhibiting anti Union postures through refusal to allow unionization of Contract workers, refusal to negotiate, refusal to recognize workers already organized, Multiple Fragmentation of Contracts to frustrate the efforts of the Union in organizing the workers.

It also includes, treating labour relations issues with contempt and disdain to the extent of refusing implementation on rulings of Industrial Arbitration Panels whenever it goes against the wishes of the affected companies.

It is regrettable to note that NAOC and its Service Contractors have refused to review the service workers’ condition of service since 2012, hiding under the guise of litigation which has nothing to do with the Union.

No one should take the patience of the Union for weakness or abandonment of our responsibility; we have waited this long so as not to give room for misinterpretation of our actions. We will not hesitate to take some decisive actions in coming weeks if these situations are not immediately ameliorated; some of these companies include NEST Oil and its Contractors, Shell Petroleum Development Companies with its Contractors, Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) and its Contractors such as WAEP, MIDIS Nig Ltd, RYPAC, D.A ENTERPRISES, Slumberger Nigeria Limited with its Contractors and AMCON as it affects ASCOT.

3.  INVOLVING/GRANTING OF CONTRACTS WITHOUT RECRUITER’S LICENSE/ NON IMPLEMENTATION OF RECRUITERS’LICENSE CLAUSES IN THE LABOUR LAW.

More worrisome to the Union is the involving and awarding of jobs to contractors without Recruiter’s Licenses in the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry. It is very obvious that many Labour Contractors being engaged by Oil and Gas Companies in Nigeria are not registered as Recruiter in clear violation of the extant laws on being licensed as a Labour Recruiter.

This has seriously impacted negatively on the conditions of work of those being recruited. There is massive exploitation and abuse of Workers’ rights to the extent of wicked elopement of Contract workers severance benefits by Contactors to these Oil Companies. Some of these cases we have include Virtual Travel Network that eloped with terminal benefits of 48 NAOC Contract Workers since 2015 and Logistics Facility Affairs (LFA) a Contractor with Chevron Nigeria Limited that also ran away with Workers final entitlement.

Extremely disturbing is the fact that Labour Contracts are awarded to Contracting Companies who do not only have recruiter’s licenses but also with no operational offices or fixed addresses. A Nigerian would work under harsh and hard conditions for several years receiving peanuts and yet when the contract ends, his/her severance benefits are stolen away by contractors hired by an international oil companies. Most times when confronted, these IOCs feign ignorance of the whereabouts of these portfolio Contractors/ Recruiters.

Meanwhile, the existing guidelines and Labour Act clearly state that, ‘‘Every Contractor shall have Recruiter’s License and it shall be an offence for a Principal Oil Company to deal with a Contractor without Recruiters’ License.’’

The leadership of this Union is however resolved and ready to activate the instrument of the law and all other legitimate means as recognized by the Labour Laws and conventions to fight this apparent injustice, retrogression, humiliation and inhuman treatments meted on Nigerian Oil and Gas workers.

4.  REHABILITATION OF PETROLEUM DEPOTS/REFINERIES IN NIGERIA

CWC-in-Session also uses this opportunity to further appreciate the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari for assuring Nigerians that the full rehabilitation of Nigeria’s three refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna will commence in January 2020 with the assurance to have them working in their full working capacities by 2022. For us as a key stakeholder in the industry we see this as good news which should be commended and applauded.

Consequently, CWC-in-Session found it necessary to once again commend the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) particularly the Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari, who on Saturday, September 21, 2019 re-commissioned the Ancient Ilorin City’s NNPC/PPMC Depot, thereby boosting access of Ilorin, Kwara State, and its environs to petroleum products supply and distribution for the benefit of all Nigerians.

As a Union with sound operational and institutional history of the Oil and Gas industry, we are aware that the Ilorin Depot is part of the corporation’s System 2B Pipeline Network which was knocked down more than eight years ago due to acts of economic sabotage and lack of political will.

While we acknowledged NNPC’s success in restoring Ilorin Depot, we also want the GMD and his very visionary and hardworking team to extend this laudable gesture to various Strategic Petroleum Products Depots across the Country, like those in Ore, Benin, Jos, Makurdi, Gusau, Suleja, Aba by revitalizing and resuscitating them to their full capacities in the interest of Nigerians and this we are sure will build capacity, save cost and introduce an era of steady and uninterrupted production curve that will grow the Oil and Gas industry.

However, CWC-in-Session is also grossly concerned that the strategic refinery depots of Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt are not being fully utilized despite the fact that they are in very good and functional conditions; they are not being fully used for the distribution of NNPC mostly imported products, while private depots continue to have full patronage.

As a result of this, our members in these areas are suffering and wallowing in idleness.

CWC-in-Session therefore urges NNPC management to reconsider the decision of not sending most of their imported petroleum products to Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt refinery depots as mentioned earlier.

CWC-in-Session wants to make it abundantly clear that NUPENG fully supports the use of other private depots, especially depots outside Lagos as one of the realistic solutions to decongest the gridlock in Apapa and easing the problem of petroleum products supply and distribution for domestic, commercial and industrial utilization in the country without hitches.

5.  SPEEDY PASSAGE OF PIB

CWC-in-Session once again reaffirms its belief of the enormous gains Nigeria will get if this Bill is eventually passed, signed into law and duly implemented, it would be of greater value in obliterating challenges of the Industry as well as create sustainable foundation for industrial growth and prosperity.

NUPENG boldly offers our full support and readiness to work with the executive and legislative arms of government and other industry stakeholders to ensuring the actualization of this lofty reform in the entire Oil and Gas value chain.

The Union is however pleased that the leadership of the two new chambers of the 9th National Assembly emerged without much division and have boldly and openly declared their readiness to make use of lessons learnt from the pitfalls that prevented the success of previous National Assembly in passing this all important Bill.

6.  BAD ROADS

CWC-in-Session is utterly pained by the deplorable state of Nigerian roads with its attendant disruption of smooth supply and distribution of petroleum products to many parts of the country. The daily feedback we get from Petroleum Tanker Drivers Branch of our Union who traverse the length and breadth of the country through the use of these poor road infrastructure are very disturbing and the situation is making their economic activities grossly turbulent, herculean and unpleasant on a daily basis.

It is very heart-rending, seeing Petroleum Tanker Drivers spending weeks on the roads across the country as a result of poor conditions of our roads which is giving rise to serious accidents, damages to their trucks and exposure to other roads hazards which ordinarily could have been averted if the roads were to be in perfect conditions.

Some of these deplorable highways include:

1)       Bida-Mokwa-Jebba road
2)       Oyo-Ogbomoso road
3)       Ilorin road
4)       Benin-Warri road
5)       Benin-Auchi-Okene road
6)       Enugu-Onisha road
7)       Calabar-Itu road
8)       Eleme-Onne Express road, Eleme area, East West road
9)       Port Harcourt-Aba-Ikot Ekpene road

As a responsible and law abiding but resolute and vibrant Union, we have not and still would not renege in ensuring adherence to minimum safety standards for our tanker drivers and the general road users.

In the light of this, NUPENG therefore uses this medium to put a clarion call to the Federal Government to expedite action on repairing all the bad roads within the 6 geo-political zones of Nigeria, so as to assuage the suffering of Nigerians who are passing through this excruciating and avoidable circumstance. We’re convinced that Government’s swift response will help not to make this situation go out of control.

7.  INSECURITY

As conscious, enlightened and seasoned Labour Correspondents, you will recall that NUPENG and her sister Union, PENGASSAN held a joint Press Conference earlier in September to express our displeasure over the spate of insecurity in the country and unfortunately our members have continued to live in fear as the mostly targeted group by these social scourge and menace.

The Oil and Gas workers are constantly threatened by the boldness and brazen manner that these bandits carry out their nefarious activities ranging from intimidation, bombings, oil and gas pipelines vandalism, suicide attacks, killing of security agents, unarmed innocent people, burning of Police stations, kidnapping, raping of school girls and women to mention a but a few.

The state of insecurity is also discouraging to Investors as no sane person will invest in an unsafe and insecure environment. Thus, the deepening level of poverty and unemployment situation will continue unabated.

We therefore use this veritable medium to once again reiterate the call to the Government of Nigeria to urgently find solutions to the increasing rate of insecurity of lives and properties in the country which is causing massive negative impacts and effects on investment and citizenry livelihoods.

It is our wish like every other sane Nigerians to see a flourishing, safe, and investment-friendly socio-economic clime accompanied by sound education, robust human capital development, abundant employment opportunities and capacity building initiatives for the youths, good health care system, increase infrastructure development and other basic needs of Nigerians.

On this note and on behalf of the Central Working Committee of our great and indefatigable Union I say thank you for your apt attention and attendance.

Our Solidarity remains constant!! For the union makes us strong!!!!

We shall overcome; thank you and God bless us all.

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