Oil Locals Raise Awareness of “Precarious Work”

Precarious work refers to part-time, temporary and contract jobs that generally pay less, have few or no benefits, and lack job security and protection. In other countries, this non-standard employment is poorly paid and workers cannot support their families.

The USW joined oil and gas unions representing workers at Shell operations in five continents to take a stand against precarious work on Oct. 7, 2017—the World Day for Decent Work. The union canvassed local unions to raise awareness that precarious work is a threat at Shell, while other IndustriALL Global Union affiliates in Ghana, Nigeria, Iraq, and Pakistan organized activities and demonstrations.

These activities grew out of the Shell Global Union Network meeting held in the Netherlands on Nov. 25-26, 2016. The meeting highlighted the increasing use of precarious workers and contracts, particularly in countries like Nigeria, Argentina and the Netherlands. In Nigeria, Shell employs more than 50,000 contract workers compared to only 4,500 permanent employees, according to studies. The unions agreed to participate in IndustriALL’s campaign to Stop Precarious Work after this meeting.

The USW has been pushing the oil industry to hire full-time maintenance workers to handle daily maintenance work instead of using contractors.

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