Posted: Sunday 10th August 2014 at 1:36 am

Hunger threat on Jack Ryan rig, as cooks also go on strike

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Information reaching Adom News indicates the strike action on Jack Ryan rig in the Jubilee Oil Fields is getting worse as the cooks onboard the rig have also refused to cook for the riggers and expats until they hear something positive about their salaries.

The cooks were initially not part of the strike, but as the expat rig owners from Transocean, took measures to distance themselves from the striking Ghanaians, the cooks also decided to join the strike.

The expats were said to have locked themselves up in their offices and also locked the lifts on board, to prevent the striking Ghanaians on the floor of the rig from climbing up to the offices of the expats.

Reports said the expats took a few drinks and cookies with them to kill their hunger, but the cooks have locked up the food stores on the rigs and refused access to both expats on the rig.

The riggers are supposed to be onboard the rig for the next 28 days, so if the nothing is done to address the situation, the expats could be hungry for the next 28 days.

Meanwhile, the striking riggers, who are supposed to be on the rig for 28 days, are being asked to go back to shore on a boat and meet with their recruitment agencies, Menergy International and Rig World Ghana Limited and sign new contracts.

But the riggers are said to have refused the offer, and insisted that it was a trick to get rid of them and bring in another batch of riggers.

They are insisting that they would stay on the rig for as long as their grievances are not addressed but they will not work. They are also demanding that the recruitment agency officials should bring the contracts to the rig for them to sign and keep copies.

 
Rig World reacts
Adom News managed to reach the Human Resource Manager of Rig World, Naa Syntyche Torgbor-Gbedemah who said the matter has come to their notice, but she thought the workers were being unreasonable because they only submitted their demands a day before the strike, even though the workers claim they have been making demands for the past three weeks.

Madam Torgbor-Gbedemah made a striking statement that “the workers usually signed contracts with Rig World out of desperation for a job and when they get to the rigs and get information about how others are being paid then they begin to agitate.”

Asked if it was wrong for the workers to make demands based on new information about general industry practices, she said “they are comparing themselves with the expats and that is wrong. And the amounts they claim we are getting from the rig owners are ridiculous because there is no evidence to prove those claims.”

She however admitted that that the non-transparency of the dealings between the rig owners and the recruitment agencies was the cause of suspicion and anxieties of the rig workers about the alleged huge moneys being paid to the recruitment agencies.

But she insisted that even if recruitment agencies were getting huge moneys and paying peanuts as the workers claim, those payments were based on contracts the workers signed and it was wrong for them to insist that they should be paid the same amounts other companies are paying their workers.

Madam Torgbor-Gbedemah however told Adom News they are currently working on how to deal with the issue on hand and come to a workable conclusion, but it will take time because the rig owners have to follow due process with their mother companies overseas.

 
Evidence
But contrary to Madam Torgbor-Gbedemah’s assertion that there is no evidence to show recruitment agencies are receiving huge amounts from rig owners and paying peanuts, Adom News has a copy of a notice posted on the notice board of one of the rigs called Olympio, owned by Oceanrig,which proves otherwise.

The notice showed that the Oceanrig paid over US$560,000 to one recruitment agency called Seaweld Ghana Limited for various categories of workers. It clearly stated how much was due each worker, but Seaweld paid out only US$119,000 to the workers and kept over US$440,000 to itself, in addition to its own service charges.

This was when Oceanrig completed a 2-year contract and was paying out bonuses to rig workers as a parting package. Story by Ghana/Adom Business/Samuel Nii Narku Dowuona

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