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Fuel scarcity looms as NUPENG issues FG 14-day ultimatum, threatens nationwide strike

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In what appears as looming fuel scarcity, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government with a threat to embark on a nationwide strike due to the non-implementation of an earlier agreement.

The labour union said it would call out its members on a nationwide industrial action if some legitimate welfare and membership-related issues are not conclusively addressed at the end of the period.

The ultimatum was contained in a statement issued by NUPENG on Monday and jointly signed by its National President, Williams Akhoreha and General Secretary, Olawale Afolabi.

What NUPENG is saying in the statement

The union in the statement said the decision was reached during a special national delegates conference convened last Thursday, for reasons ranging from non-payment of workers’ salaries, title benefits, among other issues.

The statement from NUPENG reads, “We write to convey to the public and all relevant government agencies the resolution of the Special National Delegates Conference to issue a 14-day notice of a nationwide industrial action if some legitimate welfare and membership related issues that have been variously resolved in our favour even by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment are not adequately and conclusively addressed and resolved within the next fourteen days.

“This ultimatum takes effect from Monday 15th November 2021.’’

Also, as part of its grievances, the labour union accused the management of Chevron of terminating the employment of contract workers for joining the union, despite the fact that the workers had put in between 10 to 20 years in continuous employment and that their jobs were terminated without payment of terminal benefits.

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The union said, “For the records, these benefits were in line with the subsisting Collective Bargaining Agreement as at the time these workers were laid off. This fact has been severally established but Chevron management unscrupulously short paid these workers and locked them out of its premises.

“In similar manner, Chevron management also terminated the employment of Contract workers in MUYIDEEN (Labour Contractor) and YKISH (Labour Contractor) because these workers consented to join the Union and when the employment of these workers who have variously put in between 10 to 20 years in continuous employment was terminated, no single kobo has been paid to them as terminal benefits.

“There is also the matter concerning PYRAMIDT workers, who for more than 20 years now being moved from one Labour Contractor to another without conditions of service and Union representation/ recognition.

“The struggle for the unionization of these have spanned several years with workers remaining resolute to be members of NUPENG.’’

Going further, the union claimed that contract workers working in OML 42 of Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) are being continuously owed salaries and allowances for upwards of 8 to 10 months and all effort to make management of NPDC and the contractors do the needful haven’t received any meaningful attention and actions.

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It said, “Nigeria Agip Oil Company and its contractors are also owing contracts workers’ salaries and allowances for upwards of 10 months. These workers are being denied salaries and allowances on very inhuman and wicked excuses that the Contractors are yet to fulfil certain due process, yet this due process is not stopping NAOC from exploiting the skills and sweats of these Nigerians for profits while the workers and their families are wallowing in hardship and poverty.

“In a similar manner, NAOC has since early 2020 been using the excuse of COVID-19 to keep several of our members away from work while using casual/daily paid workers to do their work even while there is a subsisting contract.”

The union said despite the fact that these issues have been tabled before different government agencies/institutions and they have been resolved, the decisions remain unimplemented while their members keep suffering in excruciating jeopardy.

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What you should know

This recent development is coming barely a day after the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), issued a 3-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to address all issues in the December 2020 Agreement.

NUPENG had in October issued a strike notice on behalf of its Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) over the deplorable state of the nation’s highways and other issues.

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