NUPENG, Other IndustriALL Affiliates Demonstrate In Lagos Against Precarious Work

Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and other trade Unions under the umbrella body of IndustriALL on Tuesday gathered in Lagos to show full force of the global union movement to observe and canvass for a stop to precarious work perpetrated by various employers of labour.

The Unions are pushing against this reprehensible tide through various initiatives like organizing precarious workers, fighting laws that expand precarious work and mobilizing in support of secure employment with good pay and working conditions for their long abused and neglected members.

7th October of every year is a day set aside specifically to observe the World Day for Decent Work, usually tagged “Stop Precarious Work Day”. Although the 2018 edition was on Sunday (7th October 2018), but was however marked by the concerned unions to drive home their points on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 in Lagos at NUPENG National Secretariat.

Few hours after statements were made by Presidents and leaders of different affiliates of IndustriALL, including ULC President, Comrade Joe Ajero and NUPENG President, Comrade Williams Akporeha, workers subsequently moved to Lagos office of Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment in Ikoyi to submit their joint communique so that their legitimate demands could be formally and urgently addressed by the government.

The workers during the industrial demonstrations displayed placards containing various messages that preached against unfair Labour practices by employers. Some of the affiliates that took part were, PENGASSAN, NUEE, NUCFLAMPE, NUTGWN, and SEWUN.

NUPENG Joins WFTU, COSATO, NEHAWU To Picket South Africa Ministry of Health Over Anti-Labour Conducts

Members of upper echelon of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Workers (NUPENG) who are presently in South Africa have identified with WFTU, COSATO, NEHAWU, others in solidarity to picket the country’s Federal Ministry of Health in Pretoria, South Africa in protest against injustice and other anti-labour activities bedeviling workers in the health sector in Rainbow nation.

NUPENG General Secretary, Comrade Adamu Song and National Treasurer, Comrade Alex Agwanwor  were conspicuously seen outside the Ministry’s secretariat with placards conveying various inscriptions which are meant to condemn  poor conditions of service of workers in South Africa.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions also applauds the move by WFTU to declare 3rd October 2018 “the International Day of Action” fighting for workplace safety, free healthcare and social security, implementing action under the 2018 theme of “Social Services and Health”.

The 3rd of October marks the WFTU 73rd Anniversary and in celebration of this milestone, WFTU convened an education seminar which introduced working class internationalism to participants; which was held on 1-2 October 2018, and today (October 3, 2018) marks its anniversary with a picket at the Department of Health Head Office in Pretoria.

South Africa is faced with serious challenges in the health sector, workplaces and social security. This picket couldn’t have come at the right time as South Africa faces serious corruption and neglect of social security issues.

In the past year, they have experienced increase in workplace injuries and deaths particularly in the mining sector; the health sector has been experiencing lack of resources both human and financial plunging the sector deeper into crisis while serious allegations of corruption in the sector have been reported and to some extent proven. In the month of August, they saw the death of workers who were trying to extinguish fire in a non compliant building, which should never have been occupied in the first place, one death is one too many.

In this regards, COSATU fully supports initiative fighting a just struggle for the working class and the poor. We stand as one with the WFTU in the demands for:

a) Overhaul the infrastructure to improve health and safety standards of health care establishments.

b) Fill all funded vacant posts to respond to staffing needs and address staff shortages.

c) Improve laundry services to restore dignity of health care users and adhere to infection, prevention and control principles.

d) Centralise pharmaceutical services to ensure availability of medicines and supplies.

e) Fill all Managers’ posts to foster accountability and responsibility over the provision of health care.

f) Increase the number of Emergency Service Vehicles and maintain roadworthiness of available emergency vehicles.

g) Invest in skilled workforce to capacitate health care personnel with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience.

h) Improve information management systems in all health establishments.

i) Implement relevant Quality Management Systems in order to reduce laboratory tests expenditure.

j) Total integration of Community Health Workers into the Public health system.

k) Establishment and implementation of good Governance practices across the Sector.

l) Efficient integration of Mental Health Services at Primary level with support from specialized Institutions.

m) Integration of NHLS in to the Department of Health.

n) The NHLS Board & Management adopt good Governance practices in the running of the entity.

o) NHLS to stop prosecuting NEHAWU shop stewards and trying to weaken the union.

p) NHLS to immediately stop unilateral restructuring and assisting Capital in sabotaging the NHI.

NUPENG, WFTU, COSATO, NEHAWU, others are pleased with the picket as it validates the COSATU agenda and demand for comprehensive social security, NHI, ending violence in the work place as well accountability of employers in ensuring health and safety in the workplace.

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Precarious Work Destroying Workers’ Lives in Nigerian Oil & Gas Industry

Precarious work destroying workers’ lives in Nigerian oil and gas industry Contract work and casualization of the oil and gas industry is having a dire impact on trade unions and the lives of workers in Nigeria, according to IndustriALL Global Union’s affiliates in African’s largest oil producing country.

Some 25 representatives from IndustriALL affiliates, the National Union of Petroleum & Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum & Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) met in the southern city of Port Harcourt for an oil and gas workshop on 19 and 20 September 2018.

Testimonials from members of NUPENG, which represents blue-collar workers, and PENGASSAN, which represents white collar workers, revealed the extent to which precarious work in the sector is undermining unions and leading to a vicious cycle of poverty.

Participants worked across a range of companies including: Total, Shell, Indorama, the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, Plant Geria and Halliburton. All NUPENG’s members are contract workers, while PENGASSAN reported that jobs that were once permanent are now being casualized, even though the work remains the same. Participants reported that in some cases workers are made redundant and then immediately being rehired for the same job with no medical insurance, life insurance or redundancy benefits.

The gulf between working conditions experienced by permanent staff and contract workers in the industry is huge, said participants and unions agreed that more should be done to close the gap. A contract worker could earn around US$280 a month for doing the same job as a permanent worker earning around US$2,000, or even more.

Furthermore, precarious work is being used by the oil companies to destroy unions. Contract workers often find they are unlikely to get rehired once they join a union, while white-collar workers find do not have the same access to training or promotion opportunities if they are union members.

Unions also said Nigerian workers do not have the same training opportunities as foreign workers, and that expatriates are being used to do jobs that could easily be done by Nigerian workers. Stagnant wages are another major problem, with NUPENG saying that wages have not increased since 2014, and in some cases longer.

Health and safety is an ongoing issue and unions agreed that workers need to be better educated about the rights, especially when it came to health and safety.  Industry 4.0 is affecting the industry – an accountant from PENGASSAN said that part of his role had been taken over by a robot at his company.

Automation is also being used to do jobs in the lubricant sector, such as labelling and filling cans. Vassey Lartson, a Shell Lab Technician and union representative, who attended the workshop on behalf of the United Steelworkers (USA), told participants he was shocked by the wage disparity between Shell workers in the USA and those in Nigeria. Vassey joined a visit to meet workers at a Shell facility in Port Harcourt the day before the workshop, which included a visit to workers’ impoverished homes.

The meeting also included a reportfrom Charles Egwabor, a lawyer from Port Harcourt, who said high unemployment in Nigeria made it easier to casualize the labour market, which in turn further increases poverty in the country.

IndustriALL’s director for energy, Diana Junquera Curiel, said: “This workshop has been truly valuable in hearing the problems and challenges facing unions in Nigeria first-hand. We commend our affiliates in their battle to fight precarious work as well as the other challenges in the industry, and we stand by to support them as they campaign for decent work in the oil and gas sector.”

NUPENG Holds Emergency NAC Meeting, Applauds President Akporeha for Entrenching Institutional Reforms & Progress 

Members of the enlarged National Administrative Council (NAC) of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, (NUPENG) had on Saturday (Sept 29, 2018) lauded the style of leadership of the Union’s President, Comrade Williams Akporeha, saying he has made a lot of institutional reforms since he officially assumed office on April 6, 2018.

NAC during its emergency meeting unanimously stated that the President has made a lot of institutional reforms in the Union and his agenda on taking the Union to the next level is on course with records of many positive milestones.

The President, Comrade Akporeha on his part showed appreciation to the encomiums he received at the high profile meeting and promised to do more.

He further emphasized on the new approach the Union is using to press home its demands in the interest of its members with a resolve to entrench harmonious and peaceful industrial relations in the overall interest of the Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.

The astute and very reticent but firm President also noted that his leadership will not hesitate to place the needs and interests of the Union above anything else and there is no going back on all the promises he made when he formally assumed office in April 2018.

Apart from the President, others who were part of the meeting included, Comrade Adamu Song (General Secretary), Comrade Solomon Kilanko (Deputy President), Comrade Bassey Harry (Deputy President), Comrade Alex Agwanwor (National Treasurer), Comrade Monday Osunde (National Trustee), Comrade Afolabi Olawale (Deputy General Secretary in charge of operations), Comrade Rotimi Benjamin (Vice President Lagos).

Also in attendance were the National Chairman of PTD branch of NUPENG Comrade (Otunba) Akanni Oladiti, Comrade Joke Oyeleke (Welfare Officer), Comrade Otite Onohwohwo (PAGS Admin), Comrade Anthony Chukwu (Finance/Account), Comrade Adamson Momoh (PAGS Research P/A), Comrade Tayo Aboyeji (Chairman Lagos Zone) Comrade Ogbodo Thompson (National Auditor), Comrade Prince Moses (National Chief Whip) and others.

NNPC Urges NUPENG, PENGASSAN To Halt Planned Strike

The Group Managing Director (GMD), NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru, has urged oil workers to halt their planned strike over a labour dispute involving Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) management and the staff.

The unions are National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN).

Baru made the appeal in a statement by NNPC’s Group Public Affairs Manager, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in Abuja on Sunday.

The GMD, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, said he had directed the management to work with other stakeholders to resolve the issues raised by the leadership of the unions.

He appealed to the unions not to do anything that would disrupt the industrial harmony that had pervaded the sector.

The group managing director expressed fears that the gains of the recent past in the sector, if care was not taken, could be frittered away inadvertently.

He however expressed optimism that the current dispute would be settled amicably.

It would be recalled that the unions had recently called on the National Assembly to intervene in the brewing impasse between CNL and its staff in Nigeria.

The unions further urged the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the NNPC and the Department of State Services (DSS) to also intervene.

The disagreements borders on the Chevron’s disclosure that the contracts with all its manpower services providers would expire by the end of October, 2018.

Consequently, NUPENG and PENGASSAN, last week Wednesday, put their members on red alert.

Meanwhile, the NNPC has allayed concerns of petroleum product consumers over possible hiccups in supply in parts of the country due to the workers’ ultimatum.

It gave the assurance that the corporation had adequate storage of petroleum products across the country to take care of the national demand.

Akinlaja Tasks Govt, Stakeholders To Resuscitate Orile-Iganmu Parking Space for Petroleum Tankers

Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources Downstream, Hon Joseph Iranola Akinlaja has admonished government at all levels as well as stakeholders in the oil and gas sector to urgently invest, resuscitate and develop the abandoned Orile parking space for petroleum tankers in order to reduce traffic gridlock in Apapa, Orile, and Mile-2 corridor of Lagos state.
The Ondo Rep, made the necessary and important call for the much needed social service at the 2018 edition of Lagos State Petroleum Marketers Safety Conference (LSPMSC) held in Federal Palace hotel VI, Lagos on Tuesday, September 18, 2018.
Akinlaja at the policy dialogue said lack of standard parking space in and around Orile-Iganmu, Apapa, Abule-Ado, etc where majority of private tank farms were located had resulted to gridlock on Lagos roads creating heavy toll on the health of the road users, reducing their lifespan and adversely affecting their productivity as well as the economy of the nation.
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“I have said it about 20 years ago when I was still in NUPENG and I am repeating it again that the Orile-Iganmu tanker park that was abandoned is the solution to the traffic gridlock on the Apapa corridor of Lagos and this facility has the capacity to accommodate about 3,000 trucks simultaneously. At present no depot or tank farm can boast of loading products at their maximum capacity and this has resulted to huge loss to investors on that corridor,’’ he said.
The Federal parliamentarian continued, ”I laughed the other time when the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo gave directive for the commencement of a 72-hour joint operation to restore sanity around Apapa and environs after activities of truck drivers had caused traffic gridlock and made vehicular movement around the axis near impossible because no parking alternative was provided for even up till now. Today the tankers are back and they will continue to be there.
”Until stakeholders like government, depot owners, etc come together and resuscitate that Orile tanker park, I dont see any solution playing out. And if the park must be fixed it must be in form of social service and not an avenue to make money, if the fees are too much the tanker divers might not be able to afford it. For example if they charge them may be N500, such fee will be used to maintain may be the toilets or to provide security or electricity and other services.
“Most of the roads to these depots are not accessible to tankers because they are in a bad state. So, any truck going through Apapa Marine Bridge road will be struggling with smaller ones and this may result to accident. If our roads are in good condition, many of our trucks would not be damaged on the roads,’’ Akinlaja maintained.