By Bimbola Oyesola
WORKERS in the oil and gas sector have cautioned that the plan by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to cut contracting cycle to six months will lead to major industrial relations crisis in the industry.
The workers, under the aegis of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers (NUPENG), said the plan to cut contracting cycle from its current stretch of between two and four years to six months is untenable, unnecessary, anti-labour, wicked as it will amount to modern day slavery.
The union, calling for the revocation, warned that it would resist the planned cut with all the powers at its disposal as it would lead to depletion of its members who are already emasculated by the current global oil glut and inconsistent policies by the regulator of the oil and gas sector.
The President of the union, Igwe Achese, noted that the cut of contracting cycle to six months negates the principle behind the local content policy and the change mantra of President Muhammadu Buhari on job creation and does not support short-lived contract employment.
He said: “The NNPC position that contract cycle of two to four years was a major contributor to the high cost per barrel of Nigerian crude oil, compared to other OPEC member countries, amounted to self-service and sounds very unpatriotic.”
Rather, oil and gas workers in other OPEC countries are given permanent work status with good condition of service as compared to the modern day slavery practised in Nigeria and encouraged by NNPC that is supposed to be the regulator in the sector.”
Achese insisted that the plan to cut contracting cycle to six months is a stab in the back for the oil and gas workers, who produce the black gold, to be tossed around every half of the year on their contract status.
“We call on the Federal Government to rescind the decision in order to have a conducive atmosphere for oil and gas workers. Six months contract cycle will be counterproductive, uneventful, and make a mess of the Nigerian oil and gas Industry Content Development Act and cause unemployment in the sector”, he said.