By Ikenna Omeje
The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has called on the National Assembly to speedy the passage of the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), currently before the National Assembly.
The Union in a statement signed by its National President, Comrade Williams Akporeha and the General Secretary, Comrade Afolabi Olawale, on Friday, in commemoration of this year’s May Day celebration noted that the passage of the Bill will help meet the needs and aspirations of Nigerians.
The PIB takes notable steps towards much-needed reform of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) governance structure, addressing issues around the business environment, and environmental and social concerns.
“The Union leadership is equally using this opportunity to call on the Federal Government especially the National Assembly to fast-track the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) so that it can receive Presidential assent as soon as possible. It is our hope that when eventually passed it will meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians,” UNPENG said.
It, however, bemoaned that the country’s oil and gas industrial relations environment has been plagued by numerous challenges, ranging from redundancy, casualisation, outsourcing, hostile employers, non-implementation of Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) to non-recognition of Unions in the workplace, adding that the outbreak of covid-19 pandemic has further worsened the situation of oil and gas workers.
NUPENG noted that it will continue to resist anti-labour practice with all the resources at its disposal, stressing its commitment to defend, promote and protect the rights of its members at the workplace.
NUPENG equally expressed concerns about the increasing spate of insecurity in the country, ranging from kidnapping, banditry, insurgency, ritual killings, civil unrest, and unhealthy rivalry among ethnic groups, farmer-herder conflicts, and citizen’s harassment by law enforcement agents, among others.
The Union called on the Federal Government to rise up to the occasion and defend Nigerians by providing security. It also advised the Federal Government to seek help, adding that the high level of insecurity has worsened the economic situation of the country.