Organised Labour has called on the Federal Government to explore better and creative ways to address the Niger Delta crisis, warning that the multifaceted crises in region and oil sector were grinding the nation and its economy to a halt.
Speaking through the General Secretary of National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, NUTGTWN, Mr. Issa Aremu, labour insisted that the persistent crises facing the oil and gas industry manifesting in low output, serial sabotage, attacks by militants, job losses and workers’ strikes would not abate unless the Muhammadu Buhari administration initiate strong industrial policies as contained in the 2014 Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan to advance social, economic and environmental sustainability in the sector.
Aremu, who is the Chairman of IndustriALL Global Union, Africa Region, in a statement urged the Federal Government in the spirit of social dialogue to intensify negotiation with Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, with a view to resolving the issues which led to the ongoing industrial action by the union.
According to Aremu, it was time Nigeria put an end to endless crises in petroleum sector just as other OPEC member countries have done through sustainable industrial policy and effective implementation of labour standards in the sector that include promotion of collective bargaining, income adequacy for the workers, job security, promotion of dialogue between industry and trade unions and enforcement of labour laws that restrict precarious work.
He said that Buhari administration’s commitment to diversification must not lead to the abandonment of the extractive oil sector such as irregular joint venture funding and cash call payments. According to him “Real diversification of the economy must start with oil and gas industry through value-added processing and manufacturing, which promote mass job creation, transfers of skills and technologies.
It was unacceptable that Nigeria exports limited crude oil and gas, whilst same time importing wholesale value-added petroleum based products such as diesel, jet fuel, fuel oil, fertilizers, etc with attendant loss of scarce foreign exchange, loss of few jobs at home and even scandalous export of jobs.”