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GPOC employees to strike tomorrow over unpaid arrears and salary increment

Photo: GPOC employees | Radio Tamazuj photo

January  5th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – National employees of the Greater Pioneer Operating Company (GPOC) said on Sunday that they will strike on Monday, January 6th 2019, after demands to pay long overdue arrears felt on deaf hears.

GPOC is a consortium of petroleum companies working in South Sudan’s oil sector. Shareholders includes South Sudan’s Nilepet, Malaysia’s Petronas, China’s CNPC and India’s ONGC Videsh.

In December, the employees wrote to the management demanding improvement in their medical and financial conditions alike. Among the demands are payement of bonuses from 2013-2017, insurances and salary increment.

A respond by the management was partially accepted by the employees but later gave the management few weeks to resolve the pending issues which has not been met as demanded.

In a statement issued and extended to Nyamilepedia on Sunday, the employees said they will strike on Monday for three days demanding that all the grievances be addressed.

“On my behalf and on behalf of the Workers Trade Union of Petroleum and Mining, GPOC sub-office, I would like to announce to the general public that GPOC national staffs both in the office and field will go for a strike tomorrow Monday, 6th January 2020 as their demands have not yet been fulfilled by GPOC management and its partners,” the statement signed by Matut Maliah, a secretary representing the employees, partly read.

The statement further explained the unfolding of the issue:

“On 2nd December 2019, GPOC field staffs wrote a petition letter to GPOC management demanding final equitable solutions to all the twelve (12) points as in the attachment below. When GPOC management responded to the 12 points, we did not accept their partial solutions and we wrote back again on 19th December 2019. In our letter dated 19th December 2019, we gave them two weeks to respond to our letter until 31st December 2019, failure to do that will lead to a strike on 6th January 2020 from both office and field staff. Today is the 5th  January 2020 and there is no feedback from GPOC management and Ministry of Petroleum to our demands.

“As GPOC national staffs, we urge the government of South Sudan through the leadership of the Minister of Petroleum to put more pressure on GPOC partners to find equitable solutions to employees’ demands as done by Dar Petroleum Operating Company Top management.

“National Staffs’ industrial action against DPOC called off their strike after they inked an agreement on 18th December 2019 on reinstatement and amendment to allowances, which are the same requirements of GPOC national staffs excluding Market Adjustment Allowance (MAA) and outstanding bonuses for Easter, Christmas and Annual leave.

“MAA was implemented a long time ago by DPOC as agreed by both JOC and Ministry of Petroleum to be effective from 2nd May 2013. Interestingly, the partners operating in DPOC are the ones operating in GPOC, then why should Market Adjustment Allowance be implemented on 2nd May 2013 as agreed by JOC for DPOC and to be implemented starting from 1st January 2019 for GPOC? What is special with DPOC national staffs and why GPOC national staffs don’t deserve such a legal right? For outstanding bonuses, in 2015 GPOC top management agreed to pay it once the production is resumed but regretfully, they disregard this agreement and came up with an unacceptable solution.

“Something must be wrong somewhere in GPOC, as well as the Ministry of Petroleum because they have not been listening to our cries for the last one year. They have turned deaf ears to our problems and they always stand with DPOC national staffs whenever they have problems with their top management. As GPOC employees, we have to make it categorically clear that the Ministry of Petroleum and GPOC partners (CNPC, PETRONAS & ONGC) are the problem and will be held responsible for any losses the country will encounter.

“Ministry of Petroleum has failed to provide a unified Human Resource Manual of South Sudan reflecting the values and cultures of South Sudanese and this is why there are a lot of messes in the oil sector. The Khartoum version of a Unified Human Resource manual that is currently in use is being implemented selectively in favor of partners of GPOC.

“In conclusion, I would like to urge further the government of South Sudan under the leadership of H.E General Salva Kiir Mayardit to put an end to such industrial disputes by giving orders to the Ministry of Petroleum to find equitable solutions to employees’ demands.

“It is worth mentioning that GPOC partners (CNPC, PETRONAS & ONGC) need to respect the images and the reputations of their companies and great countries by fulfilling the core values and missions of their companies. They should not drag their feet on the right of their employees through the Ministry of Petroleum and also by taking advantage of the financial crisis the country is undergoing through.

“We call for the full operationalization of the unified human resource manual and implementation of MAA as of 2nd May 2013 and immediate payment of all outstanding bonuses from 2013 – 2017 for both retained and temporarily released staffs. It is only in GPOC where there is no Group life insurance and limited group medical insurance unlike DPOC and SPOC with full coverage since 2012 AD.”

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