GPOC employees threaten to down tools over arrears
National employees of Greater Pioneer Operating Company (GPOC) have threatened to embark on a three-day strike next week if they are not paid their outstanding allowances.
GPOC, the operator of the unity oilfields, is owned by China's National Petroleum Corporation, Malaysia's Petronas and India's ONGC Videsh.
At least 250 workers are expected to boycott duty if the oil firm's management fails to pay their arrears as recommended by the ministry of petroleum.
The employees issued the warning on Tuesday after a consultative meeting in capital Juba.
Dut Bak Wol, head of the oil and mining workers' union, told Radio Tamazuj Tuesday that their strike will commence next week if their demands are not met. He added that their allowances were not paid since 2013.
According to the resolutions adopted during our meeting, the employees said we will write a letter to the management of the company, the ministry of petroleum and the ministry of labour that if there is no any positive response until Tuesday next week, we will start a three-day strike, he explained.
He further said the complaining national employees resolved to continue engaging South Sudan's ministry of labour, national oil company Nilepet and petroleum ministry to put pressure on the management of GPOC Company to pay their arrears.
If those institutions start to intervene to solve the problem, I think there will be no strike. But if our demands are not met, we will commence the strike, he said.
Secondees of Nilepet are also affected, so all national employees of GPOC are complaining, added.
Gatkuoth Kun Dar, chairperson for GPOC sub-office, said the employees demand unpaid arrears, pointing out that they demand market adjustment allowances.
This increment was discussed and approved by the partners at the board meeting on May 2, 2013. Other oil companies implemented it, but we discovered it recently at GPOC here, so we are now asking the management to implement this starting this month and at the same time, we need our arrears to be calculated, he explained.
We need our rears to be paid starting from May 2013 until now, he stressed.
Kun further said the ministry of petroleum had requested the oil firm's management to pay the outstanding allowances.
He noted that national employees of GPOC decided to go on strike if there is no positive response from the company.
According to the law, we have to give the employer a seven-day notice. The notice had already been given until next Tuesday, so if there is no any response from the management, the staff will go on strike for three days, he said.
The planned strike will be at the headquarters and will not affect oil flow in the oilfields. Hundreds of employees in the oilfields have been asked by their colleagues here to stay because we don't want our oil to be stopped. Our colleagues in the oilfields will continue working, he added.
Kun urged the government of South Sudan to protect their rights.
The management of GPOC could not immediately be reached for comment.
Source: Radio Tamazuj