The Nigeria Union of Petroleum & Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has called on the National Assembly to expedite action in the passage of the Anti-casualisation bill before the Senate.
The union stated that the bill, if passed into law, will address the issue of casualisation, which has been abused by indigenous and multinational oil companies.
The union in a yuletide message issued by the Acting General Secretary, Mr. Isaac Aberare, said it cannot continue to allow foreign oil firms enslave Nigerians while declaring huge profits.
“It was indeed a challenging year where we had to embark on struggles to protect the interest and welfare of our members, especially in the area of our fight against casualisation, contract labour, redundancies and non-recognition of some of our unionised members. The struggle is not yet over, as the union will continue to resist the modern day slavery called casualisation.
“The union assures its members as we enter the New Year of its commitment to fight for the recognition of the unions, where it has been formed, negotiate condition of service and welfare packages for its members,” he said.
The union also used the Yuletide season to appeal to the Federal Government to address the persistent fuel scarcity across the country that is making the populace pay through their noses, for petroleum products.
Specifically, it appealed to the Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to pay subsidy claims to the verified oil marketers to enable them import fuel to meet the shortfall presently being experienced.
On deregulation of the petroleum sector, the union called on the federal government not to be in a hurry in going about it since the refineries are still working below capacity.
The union, which maintained that the proposed deregulation of the petroleum sector cannot be import-driven, insisted that government must fix the refineries and commit to building new ones, roads, depots, pipelines, before deregulating the sector.
It warned that if this is not done, the oil and gas workers will join forces with the labour movement to resist the policy.
The union also called on the federal government to declare a state of emergency on job creation and security in the country. It lamented that the alarming unemployment situation has become a time-bomb which has now made idle youths to indulge in violent crimes.
“The federal government in partnership with the private sector should pursue the issue of employment with vigour through a new programme of re-industrialisation, so that moribund textile companies can resume production while new refineries should be built to absorb many unemployment youths.
“We state that the feat can be achieved through adequate power supply, good road-networks, ban on importation of goods that can be produced in Nigeria, and take a drastic step to address smuggling and dumping,” the statement added.