NIGERIA Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, has given the federal government 21 days ultimatum to prevail on the multinational oil companies operating in the country to stop the current spate of retrenchment in the industry, just as it decried hunger in the land. In a communiqué issued at the end of its Central Working Committee, CWC, meeting yesterday in Warri, Delta State, the union, through its national president, Comrade Igwe Achese, said that the current spate of redundancies in the oil and gas industry which had led to massive job losses and standoff was disturbing and could not be tolerated. The oil and gas workers expressed worry about the oil glut, which has necessitated downward slide on new investments in the oil and gas industry, revealing that Chevron Nigeria Limited had closed operations in the east. Disclosing that no fewer than 3,000 oil and gas workers had been sacked so far, Achese, who read out the communiqué, implored the federal government to halt the mass retrenchment. The conference-in-session kicked against the current strategy of multinationals to outsource jobs that have existed for several years, describing contract staffing and outsourcing as modern day slavery that must be resisted. The workers also called on the federal government and the National Assembly to expedite action on the passage of the anti-casualisation bill pending in the National Assembly. Speaking on anti-union posture of international oil companies, they posited that the posture was unbecoming and not in tandem with the dictates of the constitution which stipulates freedom of association and the International Labour Organisation, ILO, Convention, of which Nigeria is a signatory on the right to organise and belong to a union. The oil and gas workersfurther called on the federal government and the National Assembly to call for a major stakeholders meeting to iron out all the grey areas in the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, in order to allow for its speedy passage. They, however, gave kudos to the President Muahammadu Buhari’s administration over the progress so far made to contain the once rampaging Boko Haram activities in the North-East and the war against corruption, adding that “the conference commends the current efforts at fighting corruption but wants it to be all encompassing, so that it does not look as it is one-sided. “The CWC-in-session also commends the successes so far recorded in the fight against Boko Haram in the North- East. It calls on the Federal government to boost the morale of the fighting force by improving on their welfare and armament in order to completely win the war. The conference wants the federal government through its relevant agencies to stop kidnapping of citizens with the introduction of new technologies to track the perpetrators of such acts and bring them to book,” the conference posited.

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