More Hardship As NUPENG Threatens Nationwide Strike

More Hardship As NUPENG Threatens Nationwide Strike
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CYRIL OGAR

Nigeria may experience fuel scarcity following the threat issued on Monday by the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas, NUPENG.

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It has given the federal government a two-week strike notice, raising the possibility of fuel scarcity across the country in the coming weeks.

NUPENG members basically control the downstream arm of the oil sector and an industrial action by the union would ground the supply and distribution of petrol nationwide.

Citing the need to attend to oil workers’ welfare, NUPENG said it would begin the proposed strike at the expiration of the notice.

The development came via a statement signed by its President, Williams Akhoreha, and General Secretary, Olawale Afolabi.

The union had reached its decision during a special national delegates conference convened last Thursday.

It listed non-payment of workers’ salaries, title benefits, among others, as reasons for its resolution.

The union accused Chevron Nigeria Limited, Nigeria Agip Oil Company, National Petroleum Development Company among others of unfair labour practices including the indiscriminate sack of members without payment of their benefits.

NUPENG lamented that some of the issues had been pending since 2012 despite interventions by the federal government through the Ministry of Labour and Employment in the union’s favour.

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In a statement in Lagos, the president and general secretary of the union threatened to shut fuel distribution across the country among other measures, if its grievances were not addressed.

The statement reads in part “we write to convey to the general public and all relevant government agencies the resolution of the Special National Delegates Conference, SNDC, to issue a 14-day notice of a nationwide industrial action if some legitimate welfare and membership related issues that have been variously resolved in our favour even by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment are not adequately and conclusively addressed and resolved within the next 14 days.

“This ultimatum takes effect from Monday, November 15.

“Some of these issues include: The outstanding short payment of terminal benefits to our members that were declared redundant in 2012 by the management of Chevron Nigeria Limited. For the records, these benefits were in line with the subsisting Collective Bargaining Agreement, CBA, as at the time these workers were laid off. This fact has been severally established but Chevron short paid these workers and locked them out of its premises.

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“In a similar manner, Chevron also terminated the employment of contract workers in MUYIDEEN (labour contractor) and YKISH (labour contractor) because these workers consented to join the union and when the employment of these workers who have variously put in between 10 and 20 years in continuous employment were terminated, no single kobo has been paid to them as terminal benefits.

“There is also the matter concerning PYRAMIDT workers, who for more than 20 years now have been moved from one labour contractor to another without conditions of service and union representation/    recognition. The struggle for unionization has spanned several years with workers remaining resolute to be members of NUPENG.

“The Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment also ruled that the contractor should accede to the demands of the workers to belong to NUPENG after receiving the report of the visitation panel sent by the ministry to the workplace to determine the nature of work and services these workers are rendering. Several workers have left jobs after several years through old age or death and they left without any terminal benefits to show for several years of service. “Contract workers working in OML 42 of NPDC are being owed salaries and allowances for upwards of eight to 10 months and efforts to make the management of NPDC and the contractors to do the needful on the pitiable plight of these hapless workers have not received any meaningful attention and action. “Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC, and its contractors are also owing contract workers’ salaries and allowances for upwards of 10 months. These workers are being denied salaries and allowances on very inhuman excuses that the contractors are yet to fulfill certain due process. “Yet this due process is not stopping NAOC from exploiting the skills and sweat of these Nigerians for profit while the workers and their families are wallowing in hardship and poverty.

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Aljazirahnews


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