The rig does exploratory work for Lukoil, the same company whose local and expatriate staff recently died in a helicopter crash at sea recently.
The riggers, numbering about 43 have laid down their tools and are currently sitting in the coffee shop onboard the rig because they claim their recruitment agencies, Rig World and Menergy International are shortchanging them.
Generally, Ghanaian riggers complain of very abysmal salaries compared with industry standards. But the Jack Ryan riggers claim their recruitment agencies pay the lowest salaries compared with what other Ghanaian riggers earn.
They claimed, for instance, that Roustabouts on Jack Ryan are paid a gross salary of GHC5,330.08 (US$1,888.62) for two months, while their counterparts on West Leo are paid GHC10,030.24 (US$3,305.59) for the same period. Meanwhile other counterparts on Stena are even paid more, according to them.
They also alleged that Roughnecks on Jack Ryan are paid a gross of GHC7,139.24 (US$2,335.08) for two months, while their counterparts on West Leo for instance get GHC12,193.38 (US$3,992.54) for same period.
Riggers salaries are paid bi-monthly because it is international practice for them to work every other month, due to the risk involved. But they get paid to cover expenses for even the month they are off.
The expatriate rig owners, Transocean, were said to have pleaded with the Ghanaian riggers to nominate a representative to present their grievances while they went to work. But the riggers insisted that usually when they nominate a representative, that person is used as a scapegoat so they want the expats to deal with the whole.
This is not new, as Ghanaian oil rig workers on FPSO Kwame Nkrumah (MV21) recently held a demonstration on the rig at sea to register their protest against woefully unfair salaries.
In the FPSO instance, the recruitment agency was Modec Ghana Limited, a subsidiary of Japanese-based Modec Management Services Limited.
When Adom News called the Modec officials then, one Murali, who is said to be the CEO of the company, refused to comment, saying “we do not talk to the media.”
But efforts to reach recruitment agencies, Rig World and Menergy International proved futile. The rig owners, Lukoil were also not available to comment.
Meanwhile, the Petroleum Commission Ghana (PCG) said they would be meeting all recruitment agencies and local rig workers to trash out the salary issues, which is causing a lot of discomfort for oil companies.
Tullow Oil lost millions of dollars due to the recent demonstration on FPSO Kwame Nrkumah, and Lukoil is also facing a similar loss as a result of today’s strike action.
Ghanaian rig workers across the Jubilee Field, have been complaining about the peanuts they are paid by the recruitment agencies, who sit on land and live large, as the rig workers risk their lives at sea.
Recently, some Ghanaian and expat rig workers died in a helicopter crash at sea. At least one Ghanaian has had his leg amputated and rendered unfit to work due to a work related accident; one other has metals fitted into his knee due to a broken knee cap on the job. Two others got broken fingers due to pressure from a broken pipe on the rig.
The workers said they work constantly with chemicals labeled “Danger” and those are some of the reasons why, across the world, rig workers are paid well to compensate for the risks.
But in Ghana, recruitment agencies who sit onshore and never risk working on the rigs, rather get to scoop very big chunks off the salaries of rig workers, in addition to their own management fees.
It has been three years since the Minister of Energy, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah ordered that the salary disparity should be corrected, but nothing has been done.
PCG has promised to take up the matter from next week and try to arrive at a consensus, except that a director at PCG seem to think that the agencies have other administrative costs which warrant they slashing huge chunks off the salaries of local rig workers.
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