President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that he would give prompt attention to and sign the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) when passed by the National Assembly.
The President gave the assurance in Abuja, on Friday, on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).
Represented by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, the president said the PIGB would improve industrial harmony in the oil and gas sector, even as he also pledged his government’s unwavering commitment to increased collaboration with the organised labour for the progress of the nation.
He lauded the consistent partnership of the organised labour with government in entrenching democracy in the country, while he particularly acknowledged NUPENG as a partner in progress.
He said: “Certain revolutionary steps have been taken in the oil industry which will aid the peaceful co-existence of employers and employees in the sector”.
Speaking as the Guest of Honour at the 40th Anniversary of NUPENG with them: “Nigeria Oil and Gas Workers; Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”, President Buhari noted that employers and employees have a symbiotic relationship, as their mutual survival depended on a harmonious partnership between them.
According to him, “if there are no employers, there will be no employees. Because of this, we need equilibrium in the oil and gas industry”.
He called on Labour to always dialogue instead of shutting down the country while in a dispute with their employers.
“Mr President asked me to congratulate you on the celebrations of your 40 years in existence. He is a worker -friendly president that is concern about better working condition for workers.
“He is a president that respect the rule of law and the law of the land. He promised to sign the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill once is brought to him”.
Also speaking, NUPENG President, Comrade Williams Akporeha, raised the issue of casualisation of workers by oil companies, and warned that the union will always fight for better working condition of the members.
According to him, the union remained committed to its battle against casualisation and other indecent employment conditions in the oil and gas industry.
Comrade Alporeha said: “There are enormous challenges confronting our union, most especially with regards to the employers, government and general public perception of our enormous powers, influence and ever constant solidarity.”
“We know that most often, many employers are scared of relating with us and this wrong perception is sometimes responsible for the hostile attitude to our efforts in organizing their employees.
“In the light of this realization, our administration will embark on massive public image polishing and mending relationship with all passived aggrieved stakeholders. Our new mission is to ensure prosperity and good returns for everyone in the industry. We pledge to be more cooperative and collaborative in our dealings but without compromising on the best interest of our members and global labour best practices.
“We have further resolved to be more open and engaging in social dialogue with all stakeholders. We urge everyone, government, employers and the general public to know that we are fully committed to rendering efficient, effective and public/stakeholders friendly services to our dear country and its citizens”.