The organized Trade Union Movement in Nigeria dates back to 1912 when the workers in the Civil Service under the then Colonial administration organized themselves into a trade union. It became known as the Nigeria Civil Service Union. This became a pivot on which workers in other sectors began the agitation for the formation of Trade Unions before and after independence in 1960. By 1975 during the Military regime of General Murtala Mohammed, Trade Unions in the country have risen to over 800 Mushroom Unions. In 1976 the Government established a Commission of inquiry into the activities of the various Unions and appointed an administrator to administer the unions and come up with a structure for the proper administration of the Unions on industrial union lines. This became necessary as the Unions were polarized into ideological blocs which created problems in labour management relations. Towards the end of 1977, these Unions were restructured into 42 industrial unions along industrial lines. The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) was one of the new industrial unions. The government also insisted on the formation of a Labour Centre as there were various multiple centers affiliated to International Trade Centers with different ideological philosophies. In February 1978, the Nigeria Labour Congress was formed and inaugurated at the University of Ibadan. The 42 Industrial Unions became affiliates of the Nigeria Labour Congress with a legal backing of Trade Union (Amendment) Decree No. 22 of 1978 and Labour (Amendment) Decree No. 21 of 1978 respectively. In 1989, the Trade Unions were again restructured to become 29 affiliate industrial unions to the Nigeria Labour Congress. However, the Obasanjo administration in 2004 passed a Labour Act at the National Assembly to pave way for multiple labour centers. Today, we have the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).CRUDE OIL EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION
Crude Oil was first discovered in commercial quantity in 1956. This was at Otuogidi Village in Oloibiri, Bayelsa State of Nigeria by Shell D’Arcy. In 1958, commercial production of crude oil began in Oloibiri.
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) is one of the 29 industrial unions that are formerly affiliated to the Nigeria Labour Congress. It was also one of the former 42 industrial unions during the restructuring exercise between 1976 – 1977. During the restructuring, the following house Unions and Workers organizations among others merged to kick-start NUPENG in November, 1977.
Shell D’Arcy Workers Union.
BP Workers Union
Consolidated Petroleum Workers of Nigeria
Texaco African Workers Union
Esso Workers Union
Union of Shell Operations
Petroleum Tanker Drivers Union.
Shell D’Arcy Workers’ Union was proscribed before the inaugural conference. On 2nd November 1977, its inaugural conference was held at Oba Akenzua Cultural Center Benin City, Edo State. NUPENG was formally registered as a Trade Union on 15th August, 1978. The Secretariat was situated at No. 50A, Kano Street, Ebute Metta from there it was moved to No. 2, Jeminatu Buraimoh Close, in March, 1980. In March 2000, it was finally moved to NUPENG HOUSE at 9, Jibowu Street, Yaba, Lagos.
Tel: 234-01 – 8770277
The Union is divided into four zones for easy administration and operations namely Lagos Zone, Warri Zone, Port Harcourt Zone and Kaduna Zone with Zonal offices. There are sub-zonal offices at Eket, in Akwa Ibom State, Ibadan in Oyo State and a Liaison office at Abuja.
National Secretariat 9, Jibowu Street, Yaba, Lagos
Lagos Zone 25, Isaac John Street, Igbobi, Fadeyi, Lagos
Warri Zone 4, Justice Obi Close, DDPA (Bendel Estate, Off Airport Rd., Warri, Delta State
Port Harcourt Zone 35, Okoroji Street, D’ Line Port Harcourt, River State
Kaduna Zone RB 18, Nnamdi Azikiwe Road, Beside EcoBank, Ungwar Muazu Bye Pass, Kaduna
Eket Sub-Zonal office 59, Hospital Road, Eket, Akwa Ibom State
Ibadan Sub-Zonal office 61, Ring Road, Opposite Dikat House, Ibadan
Abuja NUPENG Liaison office 6, Umaru Dikko Crescent, OGS office, Jabi
POLITICAL STRUGGLE 1993 – 1994
It is a well-known fact that a Trade Union serves as the revolutionary vanguard of the people. This came to play when NUPENG went head long to protest against the annulment of the June 12, 1993 elections in Nigeria. The role of NUPENG was enormous due to its strategic position. The aim of the strike was to ask the military to go back to professional soldiering and to restore democracy to Nigeria after many years of military dictatorship. A militant union with revolutionary posture, NUPENG with its sister organization PENGASSAN went on a nine-week strike against military rule.
A National Strike was called in August 1993, which led to the stepping aside of the then Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida and his cabinet with the inauguration of an interim government which brought in Chief Ernest Shonekan formerly U.A.C. Chairman. At the National Executive Council meeting held on 18thJune, 1994, the Union issued an ultimatum asking the Federal Government to release the Winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election and to swear him in as the democratically elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Union’s strike commenced on July 4, 1994 and ended on September 1994. The strike was classified “the June 12 Struggle”, it was a celebrated struggle that memories are made of and it signaled the end of military rule in Nigeria.
This led to the arrest and detention of the then President of NUPENG, Comrade W. K. Agamene who was a staff of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and the General Secretary of the Union, Comrade Frank Ovie Kokori. The then Head of State was later overthrown by General Sani Abacha who dissolved the National Executive Council and appointed a Sole Administrator., Dr. Ahmed Jalingo to administer the Union, and at the same time appointed a Secretary Reverend Okon of the Ministry of Labour to assist him. Dr. Ahmed Jalingo was later replaced by Alhaji Ali Chiroma, who was former President of the Nigeria Labour Congress.
Alhaji Ali Chiroma was assisted by Engineer Okafor from the Ministry of Labour as Secretary, At the death of the maximum ruler, General Sani Abacha, the strong arm of Government was relaxed.
The President of the Union, Wariebi Kojo Agamene was earlier released at the instance of SPDC while Comrade Frank Ovie Kokori who was detained at Bama Prison was immediately released by General Abdulsalami Abubakar after four years incarceration without trial at Bama Prisons. General Abdulsalami Abubakar immediately sacked the Administrator and his Secretary and democratized the Union. The democratic process of the Union commenced with Branch elections, Zonal Council election and the National Delegates Conference that was held from 28th to 29th September, 1988.
FORMATION OF WOMEN COMMITTEE
The Union crisis between 1983 – 1987 put paid to some activities such as plan for the integration of women cadres into the mainstream of the Union.
The Oil and gas Industry is highly automated and dominated by male workers. There were some female activists in the Union who wore the mantle of leadership in their various Branches such as: Mrs. Selina Nwokolo of NISSCO, Veronica C. Ogu of Baroid of Nigeria, Mrs. Onwordi NNPC, Mrs. Lola Odu of Unipetrol now Oando Plc and a host of others. The NUPENG Women Wing before the June 12 Struggle became defunct. It was therefore, after the crisis that the second WOMEN WING now WOMEN COMMITTEE was re-inaugurated on 21st August, 2003 at Felona Hotel in Benin City since then, the Women Committee have been playing significant roles in the affairs of the union. The current executive of the National Women Committee was inaugurated on 22nd June, 2013.