The minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngigehas said that any labour contractor who promotes unfair labour practices in the oil and gas sector risk having his license revoked.
He said that his ministry is already working on reforming the process of granting and renewing Recruiters License to Labour Contractors with the aim of ensuring adherence to expatriate quotas and to eschew unfair labour practices.
Ngige, who addressed the newly elected National Administrative Council members of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, (NUPENG) who visited him today, Tuesday said: “we have started reforming the process of granting and renewing Recruiters’ License and we will not grant or renew the license of recruiters who compromise by aiding and abetting “yellow dog” contracts, as any recruiters found abusing expatriate quotas will have his license revoked or not renewed.”
The minister emphasized that the move is in line with the Executive Order of the present administration led, by President Muhammadu Buhari, to ensure that jobs that are reserved for the Nigerians are not given to expatriates as well as protect indigenous products over foreign ones.
According to him, efforts are being made to close up identified gaps in the operational guideline and labour laws in the oil and gas sector.
“In 2016 despite the shortfall in the oil revenue, the Federal Government brought both the International Oil Companies and the workers together to agree and fashion out ways to ensure that there is no job loss. This is something to cheer because all parties agreed and we were able to save jobs in the oil and gas sector.
“We were never happy when people lose their job because the pressure will always come back to the government. Today oil prices have picked up and activities have commenced so we expect new jobs to be created in the oil and gas sector.”
Dr. Ngige said that the desire of workers for decent work is in tandem with the Change Agenda which is aimed at improving the living standards of Nigerian workers and promote decent work agenda, as well as ensure that harmonious milieu that will enhance productivity, occupational safety and health is maintained at workplaces.
“The federal government is now wiser because revenue accrued from the oil and gas sector will be channeled towards steering the economy in other profitable direction such as agriculture, skills acquisition, mining, education and entrepreneurship. The previous administration made the mistake of not saving or making concrete efforts at diversification.”
The newly elected President of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, Comrade Williams Akporeha decried unfair labour practices being perpetrated by Labour Contractors in the Oil and Gas Sector.
“It is so sad that in the oil and gas industry as it is in other sectors, our employees have become more or less slave labour with no hope for career growth and development. In almost all multinational oil companies in Nigeria, there are no more direct permanent jobs for the middle level to lower level cadre. Labour Contracts of 5 + 1 in the oil and gas industry in the years past have all been virtually turned to service contracts with a shorter duration of 1 +1 or even sometimes less.”
He said that uncertainty of job security is of grave concern to the union and all other stakeholders, saying that this uncertainty is responsible for violent crises the country has been witnessing, as well as increase in criminal activities among the youths.