The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has called on Nigerians to support its fight against the alleged plan by oil companies to force the body into extinction.
NUPENG President Mr. Williams Akporeha made the call at a dinner to celebrate its forthcoming 40th anniversary, in Lagos.
He said casualisation of workers and outsourcing were major malaises affecting oil workers, adding that companies’ managements hire human resources managers with the mission to ensure that workers don’t join the union and known union members laid off.
According to him, the union has adopted various strategies to ensure it continued to remain relevant to workers in the oil and gas sub-sector as well as Nigerians.
“Management of oil companies are coming up with various policies to phase out NUPENG and we have embarked on a lot of struggles to ensure that those plans do not come to fruition.
“We have situations where oil management today puts policies to ensure that workers who are supposed to be under NUPENG cadre are not employed.
“When they are employed, they must be under contract and they ensure that they are not unionised and that’s the challenge we continue to face.
“And if as a leader today, I don’t up my game or realise that those are the challenges I must face then I am very sure it will get to a time where you will not have NUPENG anymore.
“My major challenge now is to save NUPENG from extinction with focus being to protect members’ jobs as it is relevant to have members in the oil and gas sector to ensure our continuity against management’s wish.”
Akporeha said calling for industrial actions, which the union is known was an option of last resort. According to him, it was usually caused by attempts to deny union members their rights hence, they have a right to fight not only for themselves, but for all Nigerians.
“No one in his right senses likes to be on the street under scorching sun to protest as its being ascribed to us, but situations caused it and we have to be ready to fight for our members and all strata of the Nigerian public.
“We protest when our foundation is threatened. Policies to phase us out of existence are what we are against and are what I will fight as I believe my ascension is not a mistake. Promotion of NUPENG ideals must continue,” he said.
The president, who rose through the ranks from a floor member in 1992, said the union, under his watch, wants to rebrand its identity from one always on strike by explaining the reasons for such industrial actions to the public.
He said no matter the intimidation from management, NUPENG must continue to move forward.
He said plans are on ground to celebrate former leaders of the union, companies and Nigerians at the anniversary coming up in December.