Economy shutdown looms in Nigeria next week as NUPENG, ASSBIFI join indefinite strike
Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) have asked their members to join the national strike billed to start October 3.
NUPENG’s decision to join the strike represents a significant escalation of the planned shutdown of the country as the union represents a myriad of workers across the entire value chain in the oil and gas sectors, including upstream oil platform workers, fuel tanker drivers and pump attendants.
Two central Labour unions – Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) are masterminding the strike, despite warning by the country’s justice minister that they will be breaching a court order by doing so.
The National Executive Council of both the TUC and NLC has resolved to shut down the country if the October 1 address of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu failed to address their demands.
The two unions are mobilising affiliate unions to join the strike.
NUPENG, an affiliate of the NLC urged its branches and units to take note and ensure full compliance by setting up compliance and monitoring teams in all operational locations.
The statement by its President, Williams Akporeha and General Secretary, Afolabi Olawale, read: “Consequent upon the joint resolution of the National Executive Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress as the outcome of the joint National Executive Council meeting of the two Labour federation, held on 25th September.
We wish to inform all our members in the formal and informal sectors of the Nigeria oil and gas industry and alert the general public that the rank and file members of our union are hereby directed to commence full mobilisation and ensure an unwavering compliance with the directive of the two Labour centres to all affiliate unions to embark on a nationwide industrial action from midnight of 3rd October, 2023.
“The leadership of NUPENG finds it so disturbing and unfortunate, that the federal government of Nigeria and other tiers of governments are so insensitive to the excruciating and debilitating socio/economic pains Nigerians are passing through as a result of very harsh and sudden economic policies taken by this administration without any accompanying socio/economic policies to ameliorate and cushion the immediate effects and impacts those difficult and harsh policies are having on the citizenry.
“Further worrisome to us is the apparent lack of regards and respect to the cries and yearnings of the organised Labour, civil society organisations and the general public by this administration.
“lt appears the administration is arrogantly taking the good will and the tolerance level of the workers and Nigerians in general for granted.
“This arrogance is demonstrated clearly and loudly by the ways and manners meetings with organized labour and outcomes of such meetings are taking with levity and disrespect.
“The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) is aware of the huge impacts a 24-hour industrial action by the organized labour can have on businesses and socio/economic lives of the nation, unfortunately, the government’s actions and inactions are inextricably forcing the organised labour to take this very hard and painful route of last resort to demand for needful socio/economic policies to ameliorate and cushion the debilitating and dehumanizing living conditions of Nigerians generally.
“Beyond any reasonable doubts, the government has demonstrated high insensitivity, lack of respect and regards to organised Labour and the Nigerian masses.
“Therefore, it is in the light of the above, that NUPENG as a responsive and responsible affiliate Union of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), will fully comply with the resolution of the joint NEC meeting and we hereby direct the leaders in the four Zonal Councils of our great union to mobilise all our members in the formal and informal sectors to shut down services effective 3rd October, 2023.
“All NUPENG members, including the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), Petrol Stations Workers (PSW), Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers (LPGAR) and all other allied workers in the value chain of petroleum products distribution must comply with this directive from midnight of Tuesday, 3rd October 2023.
“All branches and units of our union are to take note and ensure full compliance by setting up compliance and monitoring teams in all operational locations.”
ASSBIFI’s directives to its members was issued by the Assistant General Secretary, Admin and Planning, Saka Adekunle and Head, International & Industrial Relations, Anthony Emeh.
The ASSBIFI statement reads: “We write to notify you of the nationwide strike by the organised Labour movements in Nigeria (Trade Union Congress of Nigeria and Nigeria Labour Congress) to commence nation-wide strike on Tuesday, 3rd October, 2023 as a result of failure of government to meet the demands of labour.
“Based on this development, members are advised to join the strike action and take necessary precaution to ensure their safety and that of the properties of the organisation in the likelihood of hoodlums and miscreants taking advantage of the situation to foment trouble or vandalize business premises.
“While we will avail you of further information as event unfolds, please accept as always the warm regards and assurances of the National President.”