Rising from its Branch Executive Committee (BEC), the Petrol Station Workers (PSB) branch of NUPENG has issued a 21- Day ultimatum to the managements of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), IPMAN, MOMAN and PEDAN over non-compliance with unionization rights of workers in their organisations.
The workers noted in stern words that if the managements do not engage the workers on their freedom of association and other anti-labour issues at the expiration of the ultimatum, they may be left with no choice but to down tools to express their grievances.
The Branch Executive Committee (BEC) in consonance with Rule 14 of the union Constitution held its meeting in Benin city recently, to review the union’s affairs in the branch generally, especially the issues of non-unionisation of its members at the aforementioned organizations.
That the BEC in-Session noted with great consternation, the non-existence of salary structure and collective Bargaining agreements for petro Station workers in the downstream sector of the economy which has left the workers impoverished according to NUPENG.
In a statement jointly signed by Comrade Roland Abu, Branch Chairman (PSW), NUPENG and Comrade Abass Adegoke, Branch Secretary (PSW), NUPENG, the workers noted that the refusal of the petrol station owners in the downstream sector, NNPC retail outlets, Mega stations, major marketers filling stations and Independent marketers filling stations to allow their workers exercise their fundamental human rights to freely unionise in accordance with the extant labour law is condemnable, unconstitutional and a calculated attempt to deny the workers freedom of association as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The BEC in session therefore frowned at the refusal of IPMAN, PEDAN, MOMAN and NNPC retail outlet limited to negotiate collective bargaining agreement with the union for petrol station workers in their employment.
That after careful consideration on the above injustice being meted on petrol workers across the country, the BEC in Session thereafter issued a twenty one day ultimatum to PEDAN, MOMAN AND IPMAN leadership and NNPC retail outlet limited to meet with the officials of the union to commence unionization of the workers, and negotiate the collective bargaining agreement for petrol station workers, failure to comply will result in withdrawal of all petrol station workers from their duty post nationally without any further notice.
The labour leaders who wondered why any orgnisation would not allow unionization explained that: “Trade unions are independent, membership-based organisations of workers that represent and negotiate on behalf of working people. They give advice when their members have problems at work, represent members in discussions with employers, and help improve wages and working conditions by negotiating with employers. Unions also make sure that their members’ legal rights are enforced, provide and broker education and learning opportunities for members, promote equal opportunities at work, fight against discrimination and help to ensure a healthy and safe working environment. So why does NNPC and the others won’t permit unionization?
NUPENG highlighted some of the benefits of unionism to include “Union members benefit from the union’s collective bargaining power to negotiate with employers on their behalf. This basic right gives you as a union member more power than if you tried to negotiate as an individual. There is strength in numbers.
“Union employees make an average of 30% more than non-union workers; 92% of union workers have job-related health coverage versus 68% of non-union workers; Union workers are more likely to have guaranteed pensions than non-union employees.”
It stated further that “Unions help protect employees from unjust dismissal through collective bargaining agreements (CBA). Because of this, most union employees cannot be fired without “just cause.” This is unlike many non-union workers who are considered “at-will” employees and can be fired at any time for almost any reason. Union members also benefit from having the collective power to go on strike. A strike is when a group of workers stops working either in protest of labour conditions or as a bargaining tool during labour/management negotiations.”
Source : Independent