Suspended workers of Schlumberger, an international oil and gas service provider operating in Ghana, are calling on the Ministry of Energy and the Petroleum Commission, to help them in their demand for full severance package instead of the 40% payment given to them.
An Executive Member of Schlumberger Workers Union, Sylvester Boadi, tells Citi Business News the company last month gave letters to about 60 of its Ghanaian workers to go on a one-year suspended employment without pay due to the impact of COVID-19.
He says it is not likely these workers would be recalled, hence their push for the full severance package, which was agreed upon in their 2016 Memorandum of Understanding, and has been offered to their Nigerian counterparts.
“Management started negotiating with us on the redundancy package because of the low activity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the process of negotiating, management put some of our members on suspended employment for one year without salary, any allowance or remuneration. This was to put us under duress to accept whatever package they offer to the workers. So, we wrote to them explaining that this is unlawful. It is not what we have agreed in our Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA). We have passed negotiations as a result of the downturn, but this time, they want to hide behind COVID and not abide by the CBA we signed through the General Transport and Petroleum Workers Union,” he said.
The management of Schlumberger in a reply to Citi Business News signed by a Human Resource Representative, Emefa Efua Dzamefe, said the company is addressing the issues in line with Ghana’s national labour guidelines.
The company said the effect of COVID-19 on the oil and gas industry forced them to cut down staff, as its activities have drastically reduced.
It however noted that it remains to the safety of its employees and contractors.