Juba, South Sudan (28th June 2020). The Workers Trade Union of Petroleum and Mining –GPOC Sub-Office (WTUPM-GPOC-Sub–ffice) is in a possession of a letter from the Greater Pioneer Operating Company (GPOC) dated 22ndJune 2020 and addressed to WTUPMGPOC-Sub-office. While the WTUPM-GPOC-Sub-office will provide a specific response to the said letter vide the appropriate mean, it’s considered necessary that this statement is issued to let the public know of the concerns of the national oil workers at GPOC. The WTUPM-GPOC-Sub Office believes and maintains the principle that everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law. Equality includes full and equal enjoyment of rights and freedoms among other as stipulated in the adopted Unified Human Resources Manual (UHRMS), Labour Act 2017, Workers Trade Union Act 2013, South Sudan Petroleum Act 2011 and Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA, 2007, and amended 2011 In keeping with the equality principle, the national oil workers at GPOC demands among other includes payment and settlement of arrears as in the adopted UHRMS and other agreements reached by the Joint Operating Companies (Dar Petroleum Operating Company, Greater Pioneer Operating Company & SUUD Petroleum Operating Company) and the Ministry of Petroleum (MoP). The WTUPM-GPOC Sub-office is seeking to readdress all these demands, wrote numerous letters to GPOC management on how to resolve such demands and even signed with them agreements which to date are yet to be fulfilled since December 2019 – June
The WTUPM-GPOC Sub-office classified the national oil employees’ demands into two
groups as follows:
- Demands that are within the prerogatives of GPOC Management:
- Group Life Insurance
- Medical Insurance
- Salary structure
- Field allowance
- Shift allowance
- Commuting allowance
- Refundable loans
- Salary increment
- Other allowances as stipulated in the HR Manual
- Overstay compensation and crew change.
Despite the fact that all the above, but overstay compensation, are in the adopted UHRMS, GPOC management has not shown the will to implement them as written in the manual and directed by the former Minister Hon. Stephen Dhieu Dau in 2012. Overstaying is a special demand, which is due to coronavirus pandemic, which led field employees to stay in the field
for more than four months and this prompted them to request compensation payment and hardship allowance from GPOC Management.
Interestingly, December 2019 and January 31, 2020 agreement between the WTUPMGPOC-Sub-office and GPOC Management on how to resolve all the aforementioned demands after GPOC employees sent warning letter and went on strike on 6th January 2020 have been dishonoured. The abrogation of the agreement means that national oil workers at GPOC are
working in the risky oil sector without life insurance, proper medical insurance as well as lack of promotion for the period of nine years.
- Demands that are within the prerogatives of Ministry of Petroleum & GPOC Partners:
I. Outstanding Bonus and arrears of Christmas, Easter and Annual Leave 2013– 2017 for GPOC retained and Temporary Released NilePet Secondees and National Employees
II. Market Adjustment Allowances (MAA) It is worth mentioning that on 7 February 2019, the former minister of Petroleum, Hon. Amb.
Ezekilel Lol Gatkuoth issued ministerial orders under the subject Grievances of NilePet
Secondees and National Employees as detailed below:
- Ministerial order No: 14/RSS/MOP/OM/J/303 on the Harmonization of the NilePet
Secondees salaries in JOCs dated December 3rd 2018.
- Adoption and Implementation of Market Adjustment Allowances (MAA) and its
integration into gross pay as per partners, JOCs and Ministry of Petroleum and Mining
Resolution dated May 2, 2013.
- Payment of outstanding bonuses and arrears (2013 – 2017) for GPOC retained and temporary released NilePet Secondees and National Employees. The above ministerial orders were issued for immediate implementation by GPOC Management and warned that his office be kept informed on the progress of the implementation of the aforementioned directives.
However, to the surprise of all GPOC National Employees and NilePet Secondees, a letter dated 13 March 2019 from the foreign partners (CNPC of China, & PETRONAS of Malaysia) invalidated the Ministerial orders above. It is ridiculous for Ministerial orders to be reversed silently by investors that always abide by any country regulations and policies. The invalidation of the aforementioned orders came because of a meeting between MOP and FOREIGN PARTNERS excluding their only National partner, NILEPET in the agreement, a meeting meant for the denial of rights of innocent National Employees and NilePet Secondees.
- Minister Order No: 14/RSS/MOP/OM/J/303 on the Harmonization of the NilePet Secondees salaries in JOCs dated December 3rd 2018, and quoted as: ‘’MoP and partners agreed that the implementation be suspended as it shall be subjected to MoP and Foreign partners’ further review and discussion.’’
- Adoption and Implementation of Market Adjustment Allowances (MAA) and its integration into gross pay as per partners, JOCs and Ministry of Petroleum and Mining Resolution dated May 2, 2013 and quoted as ‘’MoP and partners agreed that GPOC shall adopt and implement the MAA as of 1st January 2019.’’
- Payment of outstanding bonuses and arrears (2013 – 2017) for GPOC retained and temporary released NilePet Secondees and National Employees and quoted as ‘’MOP and partners agreed that no bonus shall be paid from 2013 – 2017. ’’ This was later reversed to be for GPOC retained and temporary released NilePet Secondees and
National Employees in the 8th Board of Directors on 16 April 2019 and 9th Board of Directors on 16 September 2019 on condition of exceeding annualized average of 55kbopd for the year 2020.
It is difficult for GPOC Management alone to reverse or response to any demands from GPOC National Employees, and NilePet Secondees on anything related to Harmonization of NilePet secondees Salaries, Market Adjustment Allowance and payment of outstanding bonuses and
arrears from the above agreement between MOP and Foreign Partners. It is very unfortunate agreement that should not have been accepted by MOP, and considered as broad daylight surrendering to foreign partners and fulfilment of their interests only. It should be borne in mind that any reversal of decision from the demands within the prerogatives of Ministry of petroleum, and the foreign partners should come from the two parties to the agreement and GPOC Management should only support why it is a must to pay as agreed in the process of suspension of payment of bonuses and JOCs agreement on MAA as of 2 May 2013. GPOC Management’s Threat on Certificate of Registration plus other Requirements It is very unfortunate for GPOC Management to resort to this language, as it is our third year
as a sub-office body in GPOC since its inception on 28 April 2018. WTUPM-GPOC-SubOffice’s legal existence has never been in dispute, as we have been working together addressing one another with letters and emails and we believe GPOC management is alive to this fact. Be that as it may, the WTUPM-GPOC-Sub Office finds it worrying that GPOC has the audacity to sits on the fundamental rights of national oil workers, simply because they are or were not formed into a legally recognize body. In conclusion, The WTUPM-GPOC-SO rejects and condemns unfair discrimination, ill intentions towards National Employees & NilePet Secondees, threatening language, and inconsistencies in all its forms from GPOC Management, foreign partners and commits itself to the eradication of all these unnecessary practices that are against the mission and core values of this great company.
It is worth stressing that the WTUPM-GPOC-Sub-Office is a body advocating for peaceful, equal treatment of all its EMPLOYEES regardless of nationality, prosperous GPOC, and for all its key stakeholders in the business to benefit, and not as PARTNERS THINK.
Undeservedly, such a threatening language will not divert our unshakeable position on our rights and all that is required is to resolve all our demands once, and for all on or before 30 June 2020 without pre-conditions. Failure to do so, GPOC management is responsible for any eventuality after the said deadline and urge your partners and MOP to reconsider their positions and remove their knees that have been on our necks since 2012.
The WTUPM-GPOC-SO would also like to take this opportunity urging Ministry of Petroleum to exercise its regulatory roles, as our beloved country is matching toward a country free of institutionalised corruption, nepotism, tribalism, lack of accountability and transparency, as well as addressing problems of its key stakeholders in responsible manners. Everyone should be mindful and always check in silent what the history would say about you in this political and business world. As the threat to silent us, is getting more real, and louder from many dimensions given the fact that there is no justice to voices of innocents, and those perceived weak, we are therefore obliged to present our position paper to all media outlets, and the country leadership for further information, as well as for general public consumption, clearing empty charges against the Union.