Newly elected President of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Prince Williams Apkoreha, has said that the issue of job security of the union members will be his top priority. Though, Apkoreha said the challenges before his new executive are enormous, he promised to use all resources at his disposal to protect the job of his members.
For instance, he said that they would not allow the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, to impact negatively on the job security of their members. Speaking with journalists, following his election, the NUPENG President said: “I am assuring you that we will use all resources at our disposal, both human and materials to defend the job interest of all our members.
“We shall protect our collective interest with our collective resources in line with extant rules. Be assured of the fact also, that we shall show more commitment and seriousness in the vision of taking the union to next level by building on stability and unity of the union as well as ensuring a stable financial base through prudency, frugality, transparency and accountability.”
To achieve this, he said the union will henceforth vigorously embark on “tactful and strategic” unionization of workers in both the formal and informal sectors of the oil and gas industry. The new approach to unionization, according to him, will include careful and objective recruitment of Organizers, in-depth research work, creation and consistent maintenance of efficient and effective collaborative union-management relationship.
He pointed out that his new executive is coming in at a critical time when the industry is facing two critical challenges of changes and reforms.
“One of these challenges is the petroleum Industry Governance Bill that has just been harmonized and passed by the two national assemblies. There is no doubt the passage of the bill is long overdue but nevertheless, the implementation of this Act must not be allowed to impact negatively on job security of workers in the industry.” He said
Identifying globalizatiion as another serious challenge, he said, “globalization has created series of challenges to the global working class. The new dimension of these challenges is the replacement of Man at work with machine. The race between Man and Machine has left workers with the right side of the baton with redundancies being served on our plates every now and then.
Union membership has been seriously depleted due to impact of industry 4.0.”
It is within this context, that we commend President Mohammadu Buhari on his “Nigeria First Initiative “on job recruitment order. This we believe will go a long way in halting the expanding and increasing unemployment level of qualified youths in the country.”
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