NLC chief warns foreign oil firms against disrespect of labour laws
Leading labour leader, Issa Aremu has urged international oil companies (IOCs) operating in Nigeria to ensure decent work conditions for their workers in tune with the nation’s laws.
Aremu was speaking yesterday against the backdrop of the recent three-day warning strike called by the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The unions alleged arbitrary sack of workers, inadequate compensation of the disengaged staffers, inhuman treatment of casual workers and general poor working conditions.Aremu, who is also the Vice President of the Geneva, Switzerland-based Industrial Global Union, maintained that arbitrary termination of workers in the petroleum sector “amounts to gross violation of Nigerian labour laws, which have provisions for dispute resolution including redundancies and closures.”
He explained: “the burden of economic recession should not be put on the shoulders of the working people alone while corporate managers carried on with business as usual to maximise profits.”
The labour chief commended Dr. Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour, for his the prompt intervention. He urged all stakeholders and members of the public “to prevail on Shylock employers to respect workers’ rights if they must enjoy uninterrupted service and products supply.”
Aremu urged stakeholders to take the advantage of the period of strike suspension “to address the outstanding unresolved labour issues in the dispute to avert total work stoppage in the sector.”
According to him, “some of the outstanding labour issues listed by NUPENG and PENGASSAN include non-divestment by the multinationals, especially in OML 53 and 55 operated by Chevron and now OML 30, agreement on job security and non-payment of terminal benefits to 48 contract staff and 250 contract staff terminated in Lagos and Port Harcourt by the Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC, as well as the refusal of Exxon Mobil Producing to reinstate over 200 NUPENG members sacked through its directives to its labour contractors.”
Aremu listed more: “Other issues are total closures of the company’s eastern operations through divestment and refusal to discuss the redundancy terms and its refusal to facilitate the formation of Chevron labour contractors forum to interface with NUPENG.
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