Rivers: Belemaoil workers down tools over alleged slave labour

The workers of Belema Petroleum Limited, Port Harcourt, have down tooled on protest over poor working condition, which they described as ‘slave labour.’ 

All the staff of the firm under the umbrella of Senior Staff of Petroleum and Gas of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) in the union’s uniforms, remained outside the entrance of the company carrying  placards with various inscriptions.

Addressing journalists Tuesday at the venue, the National Auditor ‘2’ of PENGASSAN, Mr Ese Okusi, said the union was disappointed with the management of the oil company.

He said Belema oil bought the assets of Shell Petroleum and regretted that the company’s management had persistently reneged in all the peaceful agreements reached.

He decried the nonpayment of the staff, their rights, as the reason the national office ordered the picketing of the company, and vowed the union will continue so, pending implementation of their demands.

“Belema oil is nationwide, and we’ll carry this picketing to the rigs, until our demands are met. We do not see why workers should be treated as slave labourers in their own fathers’ land,” he said. 

Also in her submission, the assistant general secretary of the union, South/South zone, Mrs Regina Ewah, vouched support for their colleagues, insisting they were there to fight for the rights of their people’s welfare.

“We hope management will respond to our protest and come out to conclude and begin implementation of ‘Collective Bargain Agreement’ we reached. 

“We are struggling for our welfare, for a better future, a better pay. He that works deserves a better pay. We aren’t fighting the nanagement, but are asking for our due rights. We will be here until our conditions are met, even as the management owes us two months’ salaries in addition to the 13th month salary, bringing everything to total of three months,” she stated.