The impasse between MODEC and 15 of the 19 workers it sacked last November is becoming more protracted, since the company is said to have refused to reinstate the workers as directed by the arbiter in the matter, the Labour Commission.
The Commission on Wednesday July 8, 2015 asked the company to reinstate the offshore workers within two weeks, but a meeting on Monday between MODEC and the General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union ended in a stalemate.
General Secretary of the union Francis Sallah told the B&FT the company is giving excuses that the offshore installation manager — who decides the number of workers needed on the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah — is an employee of Tullow Oil and not theirs, and so they do not have control over him.
The installation manager is said to have sworn not to accept back onto the FPSO the workers who went on strike last year to demand that the gap between their salaries and those of their expatriate counterparts be closed.
The Ghanaian workers had claimed that while they were paid between GH¢2,500 and GH¢3,000 per month, their expatriate counterparts with whom they did the same work took home between US$5,000 and US$10,000.
Francis Sallah asked whether the offshore installation manager is “a law onto himself” for him to decide whether the Labour Commission’s ruling should be adhered to or not.
“We find their excuse intriguing. We are going back for the Commission to tell us that yes, one person is a law unto himself — and so the whole of Ghana should go and beg,” Francis Sallah told the B&FT.
MODEC has so far succeeded in paying-off four of the 19 workers who agreed to leave because they were advanced in age or for other reasons.
The union insists, however, that the 15 of them left who have no intention of quitting the job must be reinstated as directed by the arbiter.
According to Francis Sallah, the union is going back to the Labour Commission to report the conduct of MODEC and then decide the next step to take.
A strike action, he said, is still very much on the cards, even as they want to exhaust the avenues of arbitration that exist.
The union threatened to embark on a strike — an action that could affect the whole gamut of the petroleum industry — last week, after which MODEC hauled them before the Labour Commission.
An MoU was agreed at the meeting in which the workers were to, among other things, sign an undertaking to be of good behaviour while the company was supposed to reinstate them.
The union says, however, that they have adhered to their side of the bargain but the company is refusing to comply with the Commission’s ruling.
Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, MODEC is an offshore facilities development and construction company that constructed and installed the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah and manages it for the Jubilee Partners.
The striking workers display their anger on placards