GTCWU To Protest Against MODEC

Members of the General Transport and Chemical Workers Union (GTCWU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) have threatened to lay down their tools in protest against MODEC, operators of FPSO Kwame Nkrumah at the Jubilee Oilfield.

According to the workers, the intended action would be carried out if MODEC fails to fully reinstate workers who embark on a strike action last year.

Members of the GTCWU include workers of the Petroleum Tankers Union, the West African Gas Pipeline Company Limited (WAPCo), Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) and Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).

It would be recalled that Ghanaian workers of MODEC on the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah, numbering about 40, embarked a strike action at sea last year to protest against pay disparities and other poor working conditions.

The workers complained that they were paid between GH¢2,500 and GH¢3,000 per month while their expatriate workers took an average of about $5,000 to $10,000 even though the Ghanaians and expatriates do the same job on the FPSO.

The management of MODEC later terminated the appointment of 27 local workers. All efforts by the Petroleum Commission to resolve the impasse proved futile.

MODEC later dragged the workers before the National Labour Commission (NLC).

Subsequently, 12 local workers of MODEC withdrew their services in solidarity with the dismissed colleagues.

Ghanaian workers in the petroleum sector in 2014 also began a solidarity strike to demand the reinstatement of the dismissed MODEC workers.

Speaking to journalists, the Vice Chairman of the GTCWU, Francis Sallah, noted that they would carry out the intended strike to back the sacked Ghanaian workers of MODEC.

He indicated that management of MODEC was failing to abide by the company’s part of the bargain to get the workers that were dismissed for demonstrating over better conditions of service on the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah back to work.

He claimed the company had replaced the sacked Ghanaian workers with Vietnamese and South Africans and that MODEC was paying them huge salaries.

According to him, despite the fact that MODEC asked the dismissed workers to resume work by December, 15, 2014, the company had not taken any further step to reinstate them.

Mr. Sallah added that ‘we have served letters to management of MODEC drawing their attention to it but they only promised to get back to us.’

He remarked ‘all relevant agencies have been served letters concerning our intended strike action and from Monday if management fails to get the workers offshore, steps will be taken to activate our branches for a solidarity action.’

Management of the company had already terminated the appointment of 22 workers at its catering department, explaining that ‘there was the need to outsource the department to a service provider.’

More workers of MODEC Ghana are expected to be laid off in 2015 following notice of a retrenchment exercise by the company.

FROM Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi

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