General News of Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Source: Joy Online
Ghanaian workers of Weatherford Ghana Limited, an oil firm operating in Takoradi, who were locked out of the company for demanding better working conditions, resumed work on Tuesday November 29.
This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which settles the workers' grievances.
The signing of the MOU was witnessed by the Regional Labour officer, Mrs. Elizabeth Acquah; a GNPC Representative, Daniel Martey; Mr. Francis Acquah, local Union Chairman at Weatherford; Francis M.K. Sallah, Industrial Relations Officer for General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union of the Trades Union Congress; the company’s Country Manager, George Yorke, a legal representative of the company, and other stakeholders.
The company had early on threatened to pay off all the offshore Ghanaian workers at the end of the month.
The workers had embarked on a peaceful protest to demand the reinstatement of a Ghanaian Human Resource Manager, Josephine Ewusi, who they said was dismissed without recourse to the labour laws. They also wanted the company to pay them fair wages which had been agreed in their collective bargaining agreement.
Some of the local workers had accused the company of discriminating against them while giving preferential treatment to the company’s 38 expatriate staff.
But Mr. Francis Sallah, the Industrial Relations Officer of the General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union of TUC, who spoke for the workers on Monday, said the workers’ demands have all been met and they are back to work. They now have a salary increase of 21.76 percent.
He however noted that the Human Resource Manager, Josephine Ewusi has turned down the offer to return and thus would be given all her entitlements accordingly.
“I can assure you that yesterday, we were able to reach a good conclusion. The workers are back to work and the increment they asked for has been accepted. As we proposed it is taking retrospective effect. We have been able to arrive at an MOU which signifies the end of all the problems that we had with management. The lady in question says she is not ready to come back to work, and that she wants all her entitlements paid her. So an MOU has been signed to pay her by the end of this week. And also fixing salaries for two years running has been abolished because our laws do not permit that” he told Radio Maxx.
Mr. Sallah has however denied an earlier report that the Ghanaian workers were being discriminated against to the extent that there was a separate kitchen for the expatriate workers on the company’s premises.
He said that claim is completely false and an exaggeration of the situation. Weatherford is a global provider of oilfield production technology and services and is one of the largest oilfield services companies operating in more than 100 countries and employs more than 50,000 people worldwide.