The national leaderships of both the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria have cautioned companies in the oil and gas industry against sacking workers.
The unions said they had received series of reports from their members of attempts by some multinational and indigenous oil and gas companies to exploit the current COVID-19 situation to sack workers.
The unions gave the warning on Tuesday in a statement jointly signed by the National President, NUPENG, Williams Akporeha, the President, PENGASSAN, Ndukaku Ohaeri, the General Secretary, NUPENG, Afolabi Olawale, and the General Secretary, PENGASSAN, Lumumba Okugbawa.
They said, “The Federal Government and all its relevant agencies are further put on notice that NUPENGASSAN might be forced to precipitate an action that will affect drastically the entire industry if this ugly trend is not halted and erring organisations called to order.”
The statement said the leadership and associations empathised with the employers over the negative impact COVID-19 was having on the industry.
However, they added that the termination or introduction of precarious/indecent working conditions needed be avoided at all costs.
They stated, “The leadership of NUPENGASSAN condemn these moves and vows to resist them with all our might, as the moves are seen as unfair to the selfless and patriotic services of the Nigerian oil and gas workers to these companies and the nation over these past highly productive years, even when these workers are still fully participating in the frontline of the struggle against the pandemic, rendering essential services.
“These moves 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 workers in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.”
They advised the oil companies to deploy the same spirit they used in making donations to the COVID-19 fund in striving to keep their workers alive and on the job.