PRESS RELEASE ISSUED TO MARK WORLD DECENT DAY BY NIGERIA NATIONAL INDUSTRIALL GLOBAL UNION 9TH OCTOBER, 2018emmanuel ajibule
PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED ON THE OCCASION OF THE WORLD DECENT DAY MARKED BY NIGERIA NATIONAL COUNCIL OF INDUSTRIALL GLOBAL UNION FEDERATION ON TUESDAY 9TH OCTOBER, 2018
October 7 is observed worldwide as Decent Work Day. The occasion is used by Industrial Global Union Federation to mobilize its Affiliates to take action to stop precarious work in our workplaces.
In Nigeria, IndustriALL affiliates including National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), National Union of Chemical, Footwear, Rubber and Non-Metallic Product Employees (NUCFRLANMPE), National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers(NUPENG), Steel and Engineering Workers Union of Nigeria(SEWUN), Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association(PENGASSAN), Chemical and Non-metallic Product Senior Staff Association (CANMPSSAN) and AUTOBATE join the global force of over 50 million members taking action against all forms of precarious work.
According to the ILO, Decent work involves opportunity for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, Security in the workplace and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns and organize for the purpose of collective bargaining and social Dialogue, equal opportunity for all men and women.
But there is a huge gap between these ideals and our reality in our different sectors. In Nigeria, companies are replacing their full time workforce with temporary, casual, outsourced and contract workers at frightening rate. In the oil and Gas, Manufacturing and Energy sectors where our Affiliates operate, employers now hide behind what they call the “core” value of their business to casualise over 70 per cent of their work force through outsourcing and contract employment.
Casual, Outsourced and Contract Workers are not protected and are exposed to all kind of abuses, unfair and unjust practices some of which include the following
- Long or unspecified hours of work
- Low wages
- Denial or short payment of overtime
- Denial of sick leave and payment of sick leave and denial of annual leave and maternity leave
- Job insecurity, lack of redundancy benefits
- Poor health and safety conditions
- Non-payment of compensation for injuries sustained at work
- Arbitrary deductions and non-remittance of pension contributions and taxes
- Denial of workers right to join the union and bargain collectively among others
Precarious Work has led to increasing erosion of basic workers rights such as freedom of association and collective bargaining. The use of temporary/casual workers has led to depletion in the membership and capacity to organize in all sectors that include oil and gas, chemical and non-metallic, steel and engineering, electricity and textile.
In the Steel and Engineering sector there has been denial of recognition for the union in Standard Metallurgical Industries limited, Mikano Nigeria Limited and Iron Products Industy Limited (IPI ltd) all in a bid to continue to perpetuate unfair labour practices rendering more than a thousand employees as casuals and contract workers.
In the Oil and Gas sector, NUPENG and PENGASSAN have embarked on perennial campaigns and struggle to get SHELL, CHEVRON and other International Oil Companies operate in accordance with our labour laws and international labour standards. For instance, while Chevron had decided to close M-15 and H-15 contracts by October 31, 2018, NUPENGASSAN found it disturbing to see the new Contractors being engaged by Chevron’s management and whose labour contract will take effect on November 1, 2018 to start advertising all jobs despite clear provisionfor ‘roll over’ of existing workers on the jobs , consequent upon which a large number of the current workforce are most likely to be abruptly thrown into the unemployment market in their own Country. The Unions expressed worries and concerns with the manner Chevron’s management was executing the end of M-15 and H-15 contacts ending by October 31 , 2018 which was laced with hidden plans and intention to unilaterally sack thousands of contract workers despite the ongoing intervention by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment as well as the established Labour Contract Staffing Guidelines in the oil and gas industry.
In the Chemical and Non-Metallic sector, several Industries are denying the union the right to organise. These include CDK Industries, Sagamu, Emzor pharmaceuticals, Fine Coats, Orange Drugs Pharmaceuticals, Fidson Pharmaceuticals and dangote cement Factories among others. In particular, the unions frowned at the biased role of the Ministry’s Official in the handling of the redundancy exercise in Swiss Pharmaceuticals and in condoning the Executive lawlessness of Mr Gaby Elichoury, the Managing Director.
In the power sector, our affiliate NUEE is battling entrenched tradition of precarious work since privatization of PHCN. Egbin power Plc leads the assault on workers’ rights perennially denying workers the right to join the union. Egbin power plant is involved in the militarization of the workplace by deployment of soldiers to harass and intimidate especially those interested in union membership. It is regrettable that after more than four years of operation, the giant power generation unit is yet to negotiate and put in place conditions of service based on collective bargaining. Similarly Electricity distribution Companies (DISCOS) in Enugu, Ikeja and Benin refused to sign and implement conditions of service for workers negotiated over four years now. Both generation and distribution companies engage in arbitrary lay-off of workers without laid down procedure.
Further, it is unacceptable that the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) and Nigeria Industrial Court (NIC) will deliver judgements and employers will disregard such judgements. A typical example is the case of SINO PP Woven Sack in Kano where the Textile Union has strived since 2003 to organize the workers. As at today, the Chinese employer is yet to respect the judgement of the apex court of Nigeria, the National Industrial Court (NIC).
Under section 40 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Section 9 (6a) and 9(6b) of the Labour Act Cap 198 Laws of the Federation 1990, Nigeria workers have unfettered rights to associate and join the union. It is also an essential part of the ILO’S fundamental principles and rights at work that workers shall be free to exercise the right to freedom of association and the right to organize and engage in collective bargaining as contained in conventions 87 and 98 and Nigeria is signatory to these conventions.
We therefore demand immediate end to all forms of employment that offend human dignity and deny workers access to living wages, social protection and denial of the right to join the union. We ask employers of labour to respect the law and where the law is observed in breach, the ministry of labour and other agencies of Government should enforce the law.
Finally, we demand that the Federal Ministry of Labour under the leadership of Dr Chris Ngige stand up and renews its commitment and will to further enhance its monitoring duties and ensure that every employer complies with the provisions of our labour laws.
OLATUNJI B.G ISMAIL BELLO