The National Leadership of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), has felicitated with Nigerian working class on the occasion of the 2020 May Day.
May 1 is a day specifically set aside to celebrate and commemorate workers’ economic significance and social worth to humanity.
In a statement signed by its National President, Comrade (Prince) Williams Akporeha, and Comrade Afofolabi Olawale, General Secretary, NUPENG said it was unfortunate that 2020 May Day came with unprecedented issues and challenges arising from the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic.
It noted that the unfortunate situation has regrettably deprived working class people the usual unique atmosphere and opportunity to engage in the traditional parades, speech-making, rallies, merriment, funfair and other activities that are associated with this special moment yearly.
“Notwithstanding, NUPENG is using this opportunity to commend and appreciate all frontline working people who are being exposed to risks of infections and deaths due to complications of COVID-19 as humanity engages the unseen enemy in the strange global war,” the statement added.
“We salute the indomitable and patriotic fighting spirit of Oil and Gas workers, medical workers, law enforcement agents, market men/women, farmers, journalists, Drivers and other essential services workers for their invaluable services to the nation.
“We pray that God will continue to protect and strengthen them in this struggle, as they discharge their very humane, legitimate and selfless essential services to humanity.
“It is very imperative for us to use this opportunity to implore the Federal Government and other levels of governments to deepen the spread and expand the quantity of the palliative measures/ materials being put in place to cushion the impacts and effects of the pandemic and its associated lockdown on economic activities and earning powers of individuals and corporate entities.
“Most importantly, among the indigents and most vulnerable segments of the society so as to ease their pains, discomfort, and hardship, so that there could be relative respite and peace in the society.
“The Union also empathizes with various employers of labour across board, particularly in the Oil and Gas industry and expresses willingness to cooperate and work together with them in this turbulent journey for the survival of humanity and the challenges of revamping our workplaces.
“We shall be together when the sun rises once again and our machines in various factories roar back to life.
“It is very important to note here, that, we received with deep sense of relief and hope, the report of the offer of the Department of Petroleum Resources to support the operations of Oil and Gas Companies during the perilous period so as to avoid stoppage of operations and unnecessary loss of jobs by workers.
“On this promising note, we strongly implore Oil and Gas Companies not to exploit the current disturbing situation to declare unnecessary redundancies or inflict precarious and unfair labor practices on the workers that are already emotionally and psychologically traumatized.
“The fear of how the workers are going to fare against the unknown enemy and the current economic hardships are already creating social upheavals to such an extent that any further loss of jobs in our industry would achieve nothing but complications and aggravation of an already bad situation.
“This is the time we should all come together to develop ways and means to save human race from the pandemic rather than being preoccupied with issues of pecuniary gains.
“We earnestly demand for mutual sacrifices and cooperation so that we can collectively defeat COVID-19 and the associated hunger in the land for a better tomorrow.
“On this note, we enjoin all Nigerian workers to remain steadfast, disciplined, patriotic and patiently observe the rules of social distancing, washing of hands with soap and water, maintain good personal and respiratory hygiene and avoid non-essential movements etc, even after the mandatory lockdown is relaxed or finally over.
“Finally, the leadership of the NUPENG further enjoins all our members to persevere and exercise extreme restraints at all times, as tough times don’t last but tough people do. Let us remain united and avoid divisive tendencies, because our unity is our strength.
“Our solidarity must remain constant for the union makes us strong.
“Happy May Day to Nigeria Oil and Gas workers and the entire working-class people all over the world.”