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The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has warned oil and gas companies against sacking their workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The union asked firms not to exploit the current situation to declare unnecessary redundancies and unfair labour practices on the workers who are already emotionally and psychologically traumatised.

In a May day message signed by its national president, Williams Akporeha, and its general secretary, Afolabi Olawale, the union said the offer of the Department of Petroleum Resources had brought a deep sense of relief and hope.

To avoid stoppage of operations and unnecessary loss of jobs by workers, the DPR offered to support the operations of oil companies during the period.

“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,” the union said.

“This is the time we should all come together to develop ways and means to save the human race from the pandemic rather than being preoccupied with issues of pecuniary gains.

“We earnestly demand mutual sacrifices and cooperation so that we can collectively defeat COVID-19 and the associated hunger in the land for a better tomorrow,” it said.

Also, speaking on the International Workers Memorial Workers’ Day, the union said: “The unfortunate situation has regrettably deprived working-class people the usual unique atmosphere and opportunity to engage in the traditional parades, speech-making, rallies, merriments, funfair and other activities that are associated with this special moment on yearly basis”.

The union, however, commended all those working on the frontline against coronavirus.

“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.”

The union urged the federal government and other levels of governments to deepen the spread and expand the quantity of the palliative measures/ materials among the indigents and most vulnerable segments of the society.

This, it said will not only ease their pains, discomfort and hardship but will keep relative respite and peace in the society.

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