The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), has called for speedy passage of a Bill seeking to amend the Labour Act to criminalise casualisation of workers in Nigeria.
They urged that the Bill meets presidential assent before the end of second quarter of 2020.
National President of NUPENG, Williams Akporeha and Secretary General, Afolabi Olawale, who hailed the House of Representatives for initiating the Bill, affirmed that it is a new dawn in the industrial relations practice in Nigeria, whereby workers’ confidence could be restored.
They also said it is a period where workers would no longer suffer indecent workplace treatment, job insecurity and other forms of precarious work conditions that often expose them to health risks, exploitation and depression among others.
While calling on other lawmakers to speedily support the Bill, which has scaled through second reading, the oil workers urged that employers, who dissuade workers from getting unionised should also be sanctioned and penalised.
According to them, casualisation of workers has regrettably accentuated the increasing levels of crimes and social dislocations Nigeria is currently experiencing. They argued that it has particularly caused the union and its member’s lot of pains, setbacks, anguish and agonies for decades.
They maintained that some exploitative and manipulative multinational companies and their local collaborators in the oil and gas industry have over the years being exploiting gaps in the country’s labour laws to flippantly treat Nigerian oil and gas workers with disdain and indecent working conditions.
The essentially seeks to prohibit engagement of casual workers beyond six months. Similarly, Section 8 of the bill provides that every worker shall enjoy full employment benefits as a permanent staff after six months of engagement.
Furthermore, any employer who disengages a worker after a period of six months from the date of first engagement without regularising the worker’s employment shall at the date of disengagement pay to the worker full salary, allowances and entitlements due to a permanent staff for two months provided the worker has not been found liable of any criminal act involving fraud resulting to financial loss to the company amongst other things.