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Fighting back on contract work in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector

11 April, 2013Nigerian affiliates in the oil and gas sector to discuss precarious work which thrives in Nigeria because of weak and obsolete labour laws, high level of unemployment, political patronage and lack of political will to create decent jobs.

The Nupeng and Pengassan met in March to discuss the need to develop strategies to address precarious work centred on organizing and building unity amongst workers.

The unions noted an alarming trend amongst employers to convert permanent jobs to causal employment, aimed at maximizing profit, cutting labour costs and at depriving workers of their right to join a trade union.

In addition to recruiting contract workers and building common understanding between permanent and contract workers on the need for equal pay for equal work, there was agreement on the importance of working in solidarity with other unions in Nigeria on the issue of contract staffing, outsourcing and precarious work. Participants discussed the need for social dialogue and advocacy at an international level on the issue.

The two unions also put together an action plan for a campaign to be carried out over the next six months that includes information gathering, membership drives, awareness raising and high level meetings with government.

IndustriALL Project Coordinator, Augustine Adokou commented that the campaign efforts by Pengassan and Nupeng including unionizing precarious workers in the oil and gas sector would make a significant contribution to IndustriALL’s efforts on addressing precarious work globally.

Efforts on the campaign seem to already be well underway, with two articles published in the mainstream media on precarious work, drawing heavily from comments made by Hyginus Chika Onuegbu, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria River State Chairman and senior official of Pengassan. See articles attached.