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ULC decries job importation in Oil and Gas industry ~ Truth Reporters

The United Labour Congress of Nigeria on have kicked against the practice of bringing foreign nationals by oil companies to do jobs meant for Nigerians.

ULC President Joe Ajaero, stated this on Thursday when he led members of the National Executive of ULC on a courtesy visit on the Minsiter of Labour and Employment Dr Chris Ngige in his office in Abuja.

"We want to congratulate you on your deserving reappointment as the Honourable Minister in charge of the Labour and Employment Ministry and to also appreciate your according us the honour to pay you this visit. We are grateful. It shows that you are determined to listen to Nigerian workers and make their lives better in the next four years.

"It is time we begin to unchain and free Nigerian workers from constant violence and intimidation in our various workplaces. We therefore wish to make the following demands:

1. The Urgent Implementation of the National Minimum Wage. We urge for more faithfulness on the part of the federal government towards ensuring that the contrived delay in the completion of the process would be stopped and Nigerian workers begin to receive the new wages.

2. Representation of Nigerian workers in various tripartite bodies and organisations be made more inclusive to include ULC and not exclusive for any labour centre.

3. The need to give expression to the provisions of conventions 87 and 98 in compliant with international standards of freedom of association and rights to organise of Nigerian workers. A democracy should be free in every facet of its national life and any Law and leadership that seeks to close the space for workers to organise is an advocate of dictatorship.

4. We seek that machinery be set in motion to review all the Labour and Industrial Relations laws in Nigeria to protect employment relations in Nigeria therefore we suggest that the scuttled former initiative towards this be resurrected

5. The need to set frameworks to reduce the prevalence of precarious and unstable jobs in our workplaces is key for the elimination of Decent-work deficits in Nigeria

6. We commend your usual resoluteness and call on you to continue in firmly dealing with the powers that would not want freedom in our Industrial Relations clime and those who want to continue promoting the abuse and violations of the rights and privileges of Nigerian workers.

7. It has become crucial to review the operations of Labour Suppliers in the country to avoid its continued abuse by employers to exploit and cheat Nigerian workers.

8. The Minister to enter into critical dialogue with the Ministry of Interior to check continued quota abuse and racketeering by foreign companies operating in Nigeria

9. Call on the Ministry to look into the operations of some companies especially Huawei, ZTE, Daewoo, Glo, 9Mobile, Dangote and others that have continued denying workers their rights to organise into unions of their choice.

10. An urgent attention need to be paid to the apparent economic sabotage going in most of the ongoing mega projects both in the Oil and Gas Industry and in other spheres of the economy. The New Refineries and Petrochemical projects under construction by the Sterling Group and Dangote have become havens for Asian Artisans – Fitters, Welders etc. Hundreds of Workers were imported a few years ago in these sectors and we complained to no avail and just few weeks ago, Sterling group has brought in Indians and Chinese workers in the same areas. The Ministry should work with other agencies of government to stop the haemorrhaging of the remaining few Nigerian jobs. Nigerian jobs must be for Nigerians and we believe your Ministry is in a very strong position to ensure that this happens.

11. We also urge the intervention of your Ministry to warn the Security agencies especially the Police and the Army to stop interfering with Industrial Relations matters which is an exclusive preserve of the federal Ministry of Labour.

12. We believe that it is time to give more teeth and number to the Factory inspectors. This can be done effectively with the active collaboration of the Labour Centres and industrial unions working together in recognised Committees. When our workplaces are creatively monitored and inspected, abuses and violations will be reduced drastically.

13. We call for the Certificate of Registration of the United Labour Congress of Nigeria (ULC) to be released quickly since we have met with the statutory requirements for registration

14. It is disheartening that the desires and interests of about 37 trade unions have remained hanging to appease some demi-gods within the trade union movement. We also call for the release of the registration certificates of trade unions that have applied for registration over the years but have been kept in abeyance all these years at the insistence of a few trade union cabals that have refused to allow the exercise of democratic freedom within the trade union space in Nigeria.

"Finally ULC appreciates your doggedness and principled stance in your various engagements with the social partners within the nation’s industrial relations sphere and we call for a quick response to cause an effective change in the way our activities are carried out in Nigeria,

"We assure you of our willingness to continue supporting your efforts and that of the Federal Ministry of labour towards the liberalisation of trade unions and workers from the clutches of oppressive regimes both in the workplaces and in the unions. We also wish that the Ministry would be able to extend its hands of fellowship to us too so that together; we can create an Industrial relations atmosphere that would be productively harmonious."

Ngige who was in company of the Minister of State Labour and Employment Olorogun Festus Keyamo, in his response informed Labour leaders that government would have to lay off workers to be able to meet a wage bill of N580 billion needed to meet labour’s demand on the new wage.

He said that Federal Government was avoiding a situation where it would have to lay off workers, noting that throwing workers into unemployment would add to their burden.

The minister pleaded with labour to accept the consequential adjustment from levels 7 to 17, adding that government had only three months left to implement the new wage.

He stated that government would not promise labour what it could not pay, noting that no worker deserved to be owed salary.

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