WARRI- FOUR hundred and Fifty (450) Niger-Delta workers who were laid off by Global Offshore Inc. with headquarters in the United States of America, USA, last year, have protested their sack by the company without notification and payment of N900 million severance benefits and other entitlements.
The casual workers, who claimed they were engaged by the company within 1995 – 2009 by Global Offshore, said they were used by the company and its subsidiaries for various pipe laying and oil exploration activities within and outside the shores of Nigeria.
Their solicitor, Mr. Benefit Orugbo who spoke to Vanguard in Warri, Wednesday, said, “In June 2009, the Niger-Delta workers attached to a Global Offshore ocean-going vessel, DLB Chenyenne were shocked to discover without notice that Global Offshore Inc had concluded arrangement to close down its West Africa business unit and withdraw DLB Chenyenne back to its headquarters in America”.
He said the workers contacted the People’s Rights Parliament of the Ministry of Justice, Asaba, which met on February 23 in Asaba with the lawyers representing the workers, Global Offshore, Rapindink, representatives of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Nigeria Fitters Association and Nigeria Welders Association in attendance.
Orugbo said the meeting, which was presided over by the Attorney General of Delta state resolved that the lawyers to Global Offshore should hold a conference with their headquarters in USA in a bid to realizing the workers’ demand of N2 million each and issuance of certificate of employment to them, adding that eight months after the meeting, there was no word from Global Offshore.
He said the workers were, therefore, taken aback, some months later, when they read in the newspapers DLB Chenyenne had been sold at $20 million and despite the huge money made from the sale, their demands and entitlements were yet to be paid.
“His words, “Noteworthy from the workers investigation, however, is the purported sale of DLB Chenyenne is intended to pull a wool over the face of Nigerians, as the company is presently hiding under its new arrangement/partnership with a different look to paint a picture that it is no longer in chare of the vessel in a bid to deprive 450 Niger-Deltans, who risked their lives through thick and thin, and helped Global Offshore realize immeasurable benefits from pipe laying and oil exploration activities in Nigeria and West Africa at large”.
The workers called on President Goodluck Jonathan and Delta Sate Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan to call the company to order, saying they were peace-abiding citizens and should not be treated like slaves in the own land.