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Oil and Gas Labour Unions in Nigeria: Nupeng and Pengassan

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OIL AND GAS LABOUR UNIONS IN NIGERIA: NUPENG AND PENGASSAN

INTRODUCTION

The Federal Republic of Nigeria is a country located in the Western Part of Africa. It was a former British colony and achieved independence in 1960. It is a federal republic constituting of 36 states and 1 federal territory. It has a current population of 155,215,573. It is the most populated country in Africa and the 8th most populated country in the world. The current President of Nigeria is GoodLuck Jonathan. Its capital city is Abuja.

Nigeria is the 12th largest producer of petroleum in the world and the 8th largest exporter of petroleum. It also has the 10th largest proven oil reserves in the world. In 1971, Nigeria joined the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Petroleum is a very important aspect of the Nigerian Economy. Petroleum accounts for 40% of Gross Domestic Product and 80% of Government earnings. The main oil producing region is the Niger Delta which consists of three states - Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers States. However, various problems have afflicted the country preventing it from exporting petroleum at 100% capacity and leading to frequent disruptions. These problems include environmental pollution, human rights violations, poor working conditions and lack of proper investments in the area that would improve the standard of living for the local communities.

There are currently two major labour unions in Nigeria that deal with the issues of oil and gas workers:

1. Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN)

2. Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG)

These two unions are sister organisations and are affiliated with various international organisations such as International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM)

Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN)

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) is one of the 24 Senior Staff Associations in Nigeria. It was formally registered as a Trade Union on 15th August, 1978. It has its National Headquarters presently at 288, Ikorodu Road, Anthony, Lagos. The Union is divided into 4 zonal offices based in Lagos, Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna. The Current President is Babatunde O Ogun.

Their mission is to be the most organized and influential Trade union in Nigeria by upholding the core values of their existence as a union to ensure that their members and indeed, all stakeholders in the Oil and Gas Industry continue to promote a respectable partnership in the industry.

The core objectives of this organisation are:
• To safeguard and protect the jobs of their members.
• To ensure a safe and healthy working environment.
• To improve the terms and conditions of employment.
• To support and promote legislation in the interest of their members in particular and Nigeria in general.
• To render assistance to other trade union organizations in the spirit of co-operation and solidarity

Members of PENGASSAN are drawn from senior and middle management employees in various oil and gas companies in Nigeria. Each company registered by the National Secretariat constitutes a branch of PENGASSAN. Currently, they have about 21,000 members in 101 branches.

The structure of PENGASSAN consists of three organs.

The highest ranking body is the Association is the National Delegates' Conference (NDC). The NDC is consists of members of the National Executive Council (NEC), the main national officers and staff; and delegates from all branches.

Right after the NDC is the National Executive Council (NEC) which consists of branch chairmen of all the 101 branches plus the main National Officers and staff.

Lastly is the Central Working Committee (CWC) which consists of the 14 elected National Officers, General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary.

Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG)

The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) was formerly known as the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers. It is one of the 37 industrial unions currently affiliated to the Nigeria Labour Congress. In 1976/ 1977, NUPENG and 42 other industrial unions came together and merged to become one unified trade union under the banner of NUPENG. The other 42 industrial unions include: Shell D’Arcy Workers’ Union, BP Workers Union, Consolidated Petroleum Workers of Nigeria, Texaco African Workers Union, Esso Workers’ Union, Union of Shell Operations, Petroleum Tanker Drivers Union. It was after this unification that NUPENG was formally registered as a Trade Union on 15th August, 1978. Its National Headquarters are based at NUPENG HOUSE 9, Jibowu Street Yaba, Lagos. The current President is Comrade Igwe Achese

The Vision of NUPENG is to expand its frontiers in the defence of its members, improve trade union rights in the Oil and Gas Industry, and Nigeria in general. Their Mission is to be the dominant and most influential energy workers union in Africa, working with a highly motivated workforce to secure and maintain the highest possible living standard for its members.

The core objectives, enshrined in their constitution, of NUPENG are

• To ensure the complete unionization of all workers employed in the Petroleum and Natural Gas Industries.

• To regulate the relations and settle disputes between members and employers and between a member and another.

• To obtain and maintain just and equitable general conditions of service.

• To advance the education and training of members.

• To provide benefits and other assistance as provided in the Constitution.

• To encourage the participation of members in decision making in the undertaking; both at industrial and National levels.

• To protect and advance the socio-economic and cultural interest of the community; and such other objectives as are lawful and are not inconsistent with the spirit and practice of trade unionism.

• To promote and encourage International Fraternal relations with bodies having the interest of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers.

• To establish and carry on or participate (financially and otherwise) in the business of the print-up or publishing of a general Newspaper or of journals, books, pamphlets or publications or of any other undertaking industrial or otherwise, in the interest of or with the main purpose of furthering the interest of the Union or trade unionism generally.

Membership of NUPENG is open to all junior workers in the oil well and natural gas well operation in the industry including prospecting, drilling, crude oil and natural extraction of oil and natural gas, pipelines, refining, distribution and marketing of natural gas and petroleum products – including petroleum tanker drivers (Haulage) regardless of sex, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or ethnic origin.

The structure of NUPENG is divided into 5 major bodies. The principal officers are the President, Deputy President, Four Vice Presidents, General Secretary, Deputy General Secretaries, the National Treasurer, National Auditor, National Trustee, Administrative Heads of Zones, Head of Finance and Accounts, Four Zonal Chairmen, Secretaries & Treasurers. The General Secretary sees to the day-to-day administration of the Union at the National and Zonal Secretariats.
The highest ranking body is the National Delegates Conference (NDC). It consists of members of the National Executive Council (NEC), Principal National Officers and delegates from all the Branches. This Conference is held once every four years.
The second body is the National Executive Council (NEC). It consists of elected officers from the NDC, appointed Principal Officers, Zonal Chairmen, Secretaries and Treasurers. This council meets twice a year or whenever an emergency arises.

The Third body is Central Working Commitee (CWC). It comprises of elected officers at the NDC, appointed principal officers and zonal Chairmen. This council meets once every two months or whenever an emergency arises.

The fourth body is National Administrative Council (NAC). This council consists of the President, Deputy President, General Secretary, Deputy General Secretary, National Treasurer, Trustee, and Auditor. They meet once every month.

Lastly, there are the Zonal Councils. They are based on the four zones which are Lagos, Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna. The councils comprise of Branch Chairmen, Secretaries and Treasurers of the Branches. They have a congress that is held once every four years however the council meets once every three months.

Under the Zonal Councils, there is the Branch Executive Comittee. This committee consists of the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer Financial Secretary, PRO and a minimum of 5 elected members from the Units. They are elected by the members at their Branch Conference once every four years.
LIMITATIONS
We had to mostly depend on information on the internet for our research. This is because we are not physically in Nigeria therefore we cannot get a first hand view of the unions and how they work. However a quick comparison of the websites of both NUPENG and PENGASSAN, the NUPENG website was more current and very well updated plus the information was easy to access. However the PENGASSAN website had very limited information especially on the definition and job of their comprising bodies as well as how often these bodies meet therefore it proved quite hard determining and identifying their structure. However due to the fact that NUPENG and PENGASSAN are sister organisations we made a safe assumption that both have a similar structure within their unions.

REFERENCES

NUPENG OFFICIAL WEBSITE

http://nupeng.org/

PENGASSAN OFFICIAL WEBSITE

http://www.pengassan.org/aboutus.html

ICEM OFFICIAL WEBSITE

http://www.icem.org/en/25-Sub-Saharan-Africa/4104-Nigerian-Oil-Workers-Threaten-Actions-in-Fight-for-Bargaining-Rights

http://apic.igc.org/docs98/nig9804.tra.htm

CIA WORLD FACTBOOK

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ni.html

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