The federal government has threatened to withdraw the licence of labour contractors that engage in anti-labour practices in the oil and gas sector.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, gave the warning while hosting the newly- elected members of the National Administrative Council (NAC) of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) in Abuja recently.
He said the ministry was working on reforming the grant and renewal of licence to labour contractors to ensure adherence to expatriate quota and eschew unfair labour practices.
He insisted that the ministry was poised to redress the situation, saying the sanction against contractors that flout the law was in consonance with the Executive Order of the federal government to ensure that jobs reserved for indigenes are not given to expatriates as well as protect indigenous products over foreign products.
He said they have started reforming the process of granting and renewing recruiters’ licence and that the government would not grant or renew the licence of recruiters who compromise by aiding and abetting ‘yellow dog’ contracts.
He said the ministry was making effort to close identified gaps in the operational guidelines and labour laws in the oil and gas sector.
On his part, the new President of NUPENG, 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,” he said.
Akporeha, said the union was committed to promoting industrial peace and harmony in the country.
Recently, the oil workers under the auspices of NUPENGASSAN declared that they could no longer guarantee industrial harmony in the sector if government fails to curb the abuses of workers’ rights by oil companies and labour recruiters.
At the end of their joint NAC and National Executive Council (NEC) meeting under the umbrella of NUPENGASSAN, both NUPENG and PENGASSAN condemned the increasing impunities and anti labour tendencies of most indigenous and multinational oil companies in the oil and gas industry operating in the country.