NUPENG Lauds Nigeria House of Representativesfor Initiating a Bill to Criminalize Casualisation of Workers in Nigeria

PRESS STATEMENT:

The National Leadership of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) is specially pleased with the patriotic and humane efforts being made by the 9th Assembly of the House of Representatives in the ongoing process for the passage of a bill seeking to amend the Labour Act to criminalise casualisation of workers in Nigeria.

With this legislative intervention that has passed the second reading, NUPENG as a custodian of blue-collar workers in the oil and gas sector isparticularly excited with profound sense of appreciation in our current set ofLawmakers in seeing that the bill essentially seeks to prohibit engagement ofcasual workers beyond six months.

We also discovered that section 8 of the bill accommodates as beingproposed a clause to the Act which provides that every worker shall enjoy fullemployment benefits as a permanent staff after six months of engagement andthat any employer who disengages a worker after a period of six months from thedate of first engagement without regularising the worker’s employment shall atthe date of disengagement pay to the worker full salary, allowances andentitlements due to a permanent staff for two months provided the worker hasnot been found liable of any criminal act involving fraud resulting tofinancial loss to the company amongst other things.

This vicious phenomenon called worker’s casualisation has regrettablyaccentuate the increasing levels of crimes and socio dislocations Nigeria iscurrently experiencing and has particularly caused our Union and members lotsof pains, setbacks, anguish and agonies for decades.

Unfortunately, some exploitative and manipulative multinationalcompanies and their local collaborators in the oil and gas industry have overthe years being exploiting gaps in our Labour laws to flippantly treat NigeriansOil & Gas workers with disdain and indecent working conditions.

Thankfully, our visionary Federal parliamentarians are gallantly risingto the occasion in ameliorating the pitiable situation of Nigerian Workersthrough their legislative powers by showing remarkable courage and capacity toreview the country’s Labour Act so as to cater to the present-day needs of theNigerian workers with the intention of addressing some of the contemporarylabour challenges in the larger interest of the working people in the Oil & Gas industry.

The Union also uses this medium to commend the sponsor of the Bill, Hon. Olawale Raji, a lawmaker representing Epe Federal Constituency from Lagos stateand the entire Leadership of the National Assembly for putting the interests of Nigerian workers above every other interest. This is timely, and it’s a goodstep in the right direction and should attract floodgates of commendations and support from all and sundry.

While we are also in similar vein calling on our distinguished senatorsto emulate this patriotic zeal of the House by speedily concurring to thisremarkable bill, we request that Employers who dissuade workers from getting unionizedshould also be sanctioned and penalized.

To this extent, NUPENG can profoundly say this is a new dawn in theannals of industrial relations practice in Nigeria, a season whereby workers’confidence could be restored and a period where workers will no longer sufferindecent workplace treatment, job insecurity and other forms of precarious workconditions that often expose them to health risks, exploitation, depression,etc.

NUPENG therefore urges the National AssemblyLeadership to count on our support at any time for the success of this billwhether at the Public Hearing stage or any other time which they may deemnecessary. It is our firm belief and expectation that this bill will bespeedily passed and meet Presidential assent before the end of second quarterof 2020.

Our solidarity remains constant for the Union makes us strong.

SIGNED:

Comrade (Prince) Williams Eniredonana Akporeha,
National President of NUPENG,

Comrade Afolabi Olawale,
General Secretary of NUPENG.

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