24 — Vanguard, THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 2018 We'll defend members' jobs at all cost, NUPENG new leadership vows Stories by Victor Ahiuma-Young FEW days ago, in the ancient city of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, members of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, gathered for the union's 4th Quadrennial National Delegates' Conference, where the union's national Treasurer, Prince Williams Eniredonana Akporeha, was elected president unopposed. The conference brought to an end the eight years remarkable reign Comrade Igwe Achese. In his acceptance speech, Prince Akporeha gave insight into his leadership agenda in the next four years with issue of job security of members as priority. While stressing the need for members to work together because "it is only through collective cooperation and collaboration, can the new leadership be able to successfully steer the ship of the union to the desired destination. You are all aware that we are coming on board at this critical time when our industry is facing two critical challenges of changes and reforms. One of these challenges is the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill that has just been harmonised and passed by the National Assembly. There is no doubt the passage of the bill is long overdue but nevertheless, the implementation of this Act must not be allowed to impact negatively on job security of workers in the industry. "The second challenge relates to the theme of this national conference. Globalisation has created series of challenges to the global working class. The new dimension of these challenges is the replacement of man with machine at work. The race between Man and Machine has left workers redundant. Union membership has been seriously depleted due to impact of industry (4.0). It is in this context that we commend President Muhammadu Buhari on his "Nigeria First Initiative "on job recruitment order. This, we believe, will go a long way in halting the *Mrs Nora Akporeha (wife), Prince Williams Akporeha, new President of NUPENG, Comrade Igwe Achese, immediate past President, Comrade Adamu Abdulkadiri, Vice-President, Kaduna Zone, during the acceptance speech by Prince Williams, after he and 15 others were elected unopposed to lead NUPENG for the next four years. increasing unemployment level of qualified youths in the country." Job security of members Casualisation, outsourcing is evil --- Achese NIGERIA Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, has called for a united fight by organised labour against unfair labour practices, especially casualisation and outsourcing, saying both are evil employment practices that must be fought to a standstill. In his valedictory address to NUPENG members and other guests at the union's 4th Quadrennial National Delegates' Conference in Rivers State, then President, Comrade Igwe Achese, contended that casualisation and other forms of unfair practices, were threats to organised labour' strength and cohesion that must not be allowed to continue. He decried the impact of technology on security of jobs, saying it informed the theme of the conference: Impact of Technology (Industry 4.0) on Industrial Relations in the workplace. According to Achese: "Robots and automated machines are taking over our jobs, especially in multinational companies operating in Nigeria. This has led to massive job losses thus compounding unemployment situation in the country, in a nation where half the population of our youths are According to him, notwithstanding the above challenges, "I stand here to give you my assurance that we will use all resources at our disposal, both human unemployed. This has to be addressed holistically by all the stakeholders in the oil and gas industry. "The Oil and Gas industry is experiencing redundancies, layoffs, retrenchment, downsizing, and so on. Our members are depleting because redundancies have become the order of the day due to the oil glut, bad economic policies and failure to put eradicate the scourge. It is mere exploitation by the multinationals who use service contractors to perpetrate this evil. "The sad story is that even our indigenous oil services companies are also practising the act. The Union will not rest on its oars as it will continue the fight to restore the dignity of oil workers and their regularisation as permanent staff," he added. Training, retraining essential for Labour leaders ---Oshiomhole FORMER President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has advised industrial unions in Nigeria to ensure training and retraining of members, especially career leaders from all cadres to remain relevant in modern day reality. Comrade Oshiomhole who is also the immediate past General Secretary of National Union of Textile, Garment, Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, NUTGTWN, as governor of Edo State, insisted that unions must invest heavily in capacity building of union leaders at levels. Speaking to Vanguard, he argued that unions must invest in training and retraining to be able to "have people who can sufficiently, with little briefing, and material, to defend the job interest of all our members. We shall protect our collective interest with our collective resources in things in the right perspectives. "Our prayer is that oil price keeps appreciating, investors' confidence must be restored, as some of them are leaving our shores to Angola, Ghana, Uganda etc. "The issue of outsourcing/ casualisation has become a cankerworm as it is now modern day slavery. The Union has not given up its fight to understand the complexities of these policies and how they would impact on public welfare, not just on salary earners. To invest, given the current resource profile, establish a research unit or department to be manned by seasoned economists, sociologists, lawyers and other facets of human endeavours because all of these will impact on the world of work, so that when labour leaders talk, they talk with knowledge. As I was taught in my younger days, the union leader must be a jack of all trades and master of all . He must necessarily have answers to questions. How is he going to have answers to all questions? He must have the basic training and sufficient level of line with extant rules. Be assured of the fact also, that we shall show more commitment and seriousness in the vision of taking the union to the next exposure. "As the world becomes more digitalised, the character of the struggle will move away increasingly to battle of ideas, no longer about your capacity to disrupt operations of employers, private or public. With current technologies, there are systems that you can remote-control. So, physical action would not be as potent as it was years ago. "To cope with the challenges of the digital world in which fewer workers are turning out huge output, the capacity to threaten the employers, including the state, in the traditional ways that the Michael Imoudus would do or even the one I did when I was there along with my brothers and sisters, the tools increasingly have to change. level by building on stability and unity of the union as well as ensuring a stable financial base through prudence, frugality, transparency and accountability. "We will also vigorously embark on tactful and strategic unionisation of workers in the formal and informal sectors of the oil and gas industry. "This new approach to unionisation will include careful and objective recruitment of organisers, in-depth research work, creation and consistent maintenance of efficient and effective collaborative union-management relationship." Appreciating those who wanted to be part of the new leadership but sacrificed their ambitions to offer their services for the good of all, he said:"We are conscious of the fact that there are some great minds amongst us that sacrificed their ambitions for one position or the other for the sake of peace and unity of our union. There is no doubt in fact that the elective positions are limited in number and cannot go round every interested individual. We appreciate you all and assure all and sundry that this administration will be an all-inclusive and all embracing one. "We shall definitely make use of our wisdom, knowledge, skills and expertise as we all work together to take our union to the next level." "Now you have the social media that should work to the advantage of the NLC because government no longer has the monopoly of i n f o r m a t i o n dissemination. "As it is today, everybody is an editor, a reporter or a publisher. Although the outcome is that you have the good, the bad and the ugly. But whether you like it or not, this is the world we are in. Now if you have to be a key player in this world and be listened to, you must understand the challenges that this new information super highway imposes on those who want to influence public opinion and even to sustain mass action. So, you have to review your training manuals to deal with this changing world.
Vanguard, THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 2018 — 25 C M Y K