27 June, 2013Nupeng plans to strike on Monday 1 July if government does not respond to their demands to address anti-union and unfair labour practices of multinationals, in particular Shell Petroleum Development Company, Chevron Nigeria Limited and Agip Oil Company.
The union issued a strike notice to government early in June and has been engaging government in dialogue “We have given an ultimatum to the government on unfair industrial relations practices at these multinational companies that are using more and more outsourced workers”, says Acting General Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (Nupeng), Isaac Aberare. “We are mobilising our members and preparing to go on an indefinite strike, should the issues not be resolved.”
Amongst the unions concerns, is one on the increasing casualization of work in the oil and gas sectors. Almost 85% of Nigerians working in the oil and gas sector are either contract, casual or outsourced workers with conditions of work not commensurate with oil and gas industry standards and best practices globally. These workers remain without job security or benefits, some for many years, without conversion to permanent workers.
Contract workers are being handed over to labour outsourcing companies without receiving terminal benefits. The outsourcing of labour to contractors exposes workers to possible exploitation and often times these contractors prevent workers from join the union.
The union is demanding that a forum be set up with which the union can interface with contractors for bargaining. At a previous tripartite meeting for the industry in July 2011, it was resolved that a contractors forum should be put in place to interface with the trade unions on contract workers’ unionization and negotiation of their conditions of service.
Nupeng raises issue with anti-union and unfair labour practices at Chevron Nigeria Limited, Nigeria Agip Oil Company and Shell Petroleum Development Company. Poor corporate behaviour of these multinationals includes arbitrary retrenchment and redundancies, resistance to unionisation, non-compliance with labour laws and disregard for government intervention on labour matters. Nupeng is also concerned that government has not confirmed and gazetted awards of the Industrial Arbitration Panel that were given in favour of the workers.
Nupeng has demanded that government urgently convene an Oil and Gas Conference for tripartite dialogue to address workers concerns.
In writing to the Nigerian government, IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina stated:
We are prepared to mobilise international action to support the Nupeng strike should the issues they have raised with you not be addressed. We ask that you engage with the union in constructive dialogue and to this end we support Nupeng’s call for an Oil and Gas Conference to seek lasting solutions to workers concerns.