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Massive job cut hits Ghana oil industry

  • SOURCE: | qwesa2big
  • petroleum

    Hundreds of employees of Tullow Oil Ghana, the lead operator of the country’s first independent oil fields, Jubilee, are nervous as the company prepares to undertake a massive retrenchment exercise to save cost and enhance efficiency.

    The employees have described the move as unfair and are set to contest the job slash as well as the company’s promised “enhanced  severance package”; a three month’s salary multiplied by the number of years worked.

    They said even though they were not given the details of the “enhanced severance” it was better than what is being proposed. The three months to them was not good since their salary levels were low.

    Oil prices 

    The retrenchment, which has been aggravated by the downturn in world prices of crude oil, has  impacted the company for which it could no longer sustain some rising costs, such as staff emoluments.

    As a first step, the company is slashing allowances and freebies such as free fuel and vehicles, free phone and unlimited post-paid mobile phone airtime.

    That was followed by period of consultation with its employees to reduce staff strength and the outcome is likely to be announced on March 16.

    Unionisation and unfairness

    Some of the employees, who spoke to the Graphic Business on condition of anonymity, said the move came as a shock to them and that while they were about retrenching the staff, the company was still recruiting people into positions that could be occupied by some of the present staff.

    Tullow currently employs 350 persons for both the Ghana and London offices. According to the staff, their current dilemma was the absence of a union. This was because they were not allowed to form a union(s) to intervene in times like these.

    “We were threatened at the initial move to unionise, therefore the company now has the free hand to act as it wishes and this is not the best,” they complained.

    The employees are, therefore, appealing to the regulator, Petroleum Commission, to come to their aid or they would do everything within the law to frustrate the move by Tullow.

    Tullow admits

    When contacted, the company admitted that it was not disciplined in its initial recruitment of staff, which had resulted in the current situation and that it was just prudent to take advantage of the current dip in crude prices to correct the initial anomalies.

    Tullow Oil Ghana also confirmed it had begun consultation with its employees in its Ghana office.

    Notwithstanding these circumstances, the company said it remained committed to its stated goals of local content and Localisation in Tullow Ghana, said Tullow in an email in response to GRAPHIC BusIness checks on the development.

    “We will continue to invest in building the capacity of locals to perform highly skilled roles in every aspect of the country’s fast growing oil and gas industry,” the email from the company’s Corporate Affairs department stated.

    It, however, explained that in the light of the current challenges in the global oil and gas industry, including low crude oil prices and high industry costs, it was incumbent on Tullow, as a prudent and responsible operator, to undertake a global review of its operations to ensure business efficiency and cost reduction.


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