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Unions Warn Oil Firms on Arbitrary Sack of Workers

The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have charged oil and gas firms not to arbitrarily sack workers due to Covid-19 pandemic.

They also called on the federal government to prevail on the oil and gas firms or else the unions might be forced to embark on industrial action to halt any sack trend.

The unions stated this in a joint statement signed by national president of NUPENG, Comrade (Prince) Williams Eniredonana Akporeha; general secretary of NUPENG, Comrade Afolabi Olawale, and the president of PENGASSAN, Comrade (Engr) Ndukaku Ohaeri; and general secretary, PENGASSAN, Comrade Lumumba Okugbawa.

The two unions cited series of reports from their members of attempts by some multinational and indigenous oil and gas companies to exploit the current unfortunate Covid-19 situation to rationalise, downsize, sack, introduce precarious/indecent work system or reduce salaries and allowances of workers in the industry as reasons for their warnings.

“While the leaderships of the union and association empathize with the employers over the negative impacts Covid-19 is having on the industry, their business operations and earnings, we still feel very strongly that taking the routes of arbitrary sacks, terminations or introduction of precarious/ indecent working conditions, laden with flagrant and unprocedural behaviour should be avoided at all cost as they wouldn’t bring anything good to anyone in both short, medium and long terms.

“The leadership of NUPENG and PENGASSAN condemned these moves and vow to resist them with all its might as the moves are seen as unfair to the selfless and patriotic services of the Nigeria oil and gas workers to these companies and the nation over these past highly productive years and even when these workers are still fully participating in the frontline of the struggle against the pandemic rendering essential services.”

They insisted that the moves by some of these employers, if not properly checked and managed by relevant authorities whose guidelines are being continually disobeyed by these organisations, will further complicate the already impoverished state of Nigerian oil and gas workers, their immediate family and others depending on the workers incomes for living.

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