Business News of 2014-04-01

Oil companies, workers in unionisation brawl

Ghanaians working with various oil and gas companies operating in the Western Region have hinted of attempts to deny them the opportunity to form unions.

The workers say almost all the companies have kicked against their employees forming unions.

Investigation conducted by The Finder reveals that seven oil companies currently operating in the region have rejected plans by their workers to form unions.

The Finder can report that Baker Hughes and Schlumberger are among the popular oil and gas service sector companies opposing the formation of unions.

About 20 workers of Baker Hughes, an oil service provider in Takoradi, embarked on a sit-down strike to back their demand to be allowed to form unions.

Chairman of the Workers’ Welfare Committee, Stephen Abayah, outlining the issues that necessitated the sit-down strike, said workers were being victimised by the management of the company because the workers had decided to join workers’ unions.

He revealed that five workers at the forefront of the struggle towards the workers’ unionisation had already been dismissed unlawfully and without notice.

He noted that until management re-instated the sacked workers, the strike action, which they commenced last Friday, would continue.

Deputy General Secretary of General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union of Ghana of the Trades Union Congress (GTPCWUG of TUC), Francis Sallah, held an emergency meeting with the management of Baker Hughes in Accra to address the dismissal of the five workers.

Sources told The Finder that the affected workers went for a course and when they returned they were told to go home by management of Baker Hughes.

The workers of Schlumberger, who equally experienced similar action, also embarked upon a demonstration in protest.

They complained about salary disparities between their expatriate counterparts and them.

The workers embarked on a series of demonstrations to put pressure on management to allow them form unions.

The Western Regional Labour Officer, Elizabeth Aquah, said it was unacceptable for the companies to deny the workers the right to unionise.

According to her, the laws of the country guarantee and safeguard the interest of the worker against all negative actions.

She warned the companies to stop victimising local Ghanaian workers championing the unionisation demand.