PENGASSAN seeks amendment of labour laws to protect contract workers
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The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), has urged the Federal Government to review labour laws with a view to protecting the labour rights of contract workers operating in the oil and gas sector.
The National President of the PENGASSAN, Olabode Johnson, who stated this in Abuja, during the 40th anniversary of the union, lauded the past leadership of the union for laying solid foundation upon which agitations for the betterment of workers have been pursued in the last 40 years.
He said: “We appeal to government to look into our labour laws and strengthen the provisions to protect the contract workers in the light of contemporary challenges. Our legal system equally poses its own danger in the sense that some labour cases drag for years in the courts and the workers get wearied or even die without getting justice for the wrong suffered.”
He accused indigenous operators for engaging in anti-labour practices, saying they have developed strategies for a ‘union free workplace’ by threatening employees that engage in collective activities, and promising unattainable incentives if they stopped identifying with labour unions.
Johnson added: “In the International Oil Companies, we have issues with the duration of contract jobs. Some of the contract employments are so short that one wonders how the employee will plan a life with such short term employments. Furthermore, the contractors are changed after almost every term, and the workers face the issue of whether they will be dropped with the ending contract or be absorbed into new one. This is why we implore the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), to look into this and ensure that the contract worker is well protected.”
PENGASSAN also observed that the socio-economic state of the county remains a worry.
The association explained: “Nigeria is a country richly endowed with natural resources and high quality human capital. However, issues of insecurity, ethnic division, infrastructural decay, nepotism, unemployment, impunity, illegal migrations, capital flight, abuse of power, and recklessness of some members of the political class continue to hinder the growth of our economy. This current state of the nation is the direct consequence of the actions or inactions of the leadership class that had managed the affairs of the country since independence, and if not positively addressed, major investments will continue to elude us as a nation. As approach election year, I urge us to act diligently by electing leaders who have the ability and willingness to rise to their responsibilities and move the country forward.”