Ghana: ENI Fights Ghanaian Workers, Says Slavery Claims Are Unfounded

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Italian oil and gas firm, ENI, has rejected assertions by Ghanaian employees that they are being treated unfairly and paid far below their colleague expatriates.

According to ENI, operators of the largest integrated gas field in the West African country, Ghana, in all the 67 countries it operates throughout the world, it undertakes activities according to the highest international standards and best practices in accordance with local laws, within the parameters set out by competent authorities, agencies and local regulatory frameworks.

The oil and gas firm expressed shock over the development which it described as very unfortunate.

“Wherever we work, ENI promotes international labour standards through regulatory documentation, trade union agreements at the national and international level, management and development processes and training and communication initiatives,” a statement the company issued and copied to energynewsafrica.com clarified.

The statement noted that in 2008, ENI drew up a Code of Ethics which makes “explicit reference to workers’ rights and the freedom of trade unions, as well as the fight against all forms of discrimination, forced and child labour.”

The statement was in response to a petition the Eni workers, through the General Transport Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union(GTPCWU) of Trades Union Congress, submitted to Ghana’s upstream regulator petroleum commission for actions to be taken against the company.

“It is extremely sad and disheartening to note that the Ghanaian workers of Eni are woefully underpaid compared to their expatriate colleagues on the same job in the same company, as well as competitors in the industry such as Tullow and Aker.

“This is in clear violation of Eni’s own global policy on compensation and benefits that states that: ‘Our compensation package is complemented by a benefits programme in line with our competitors and consistent with local regulations. It aims at to enhance overall compensation with benefits which support our people’s current and long term physical and financial welfare’.”

Due to the relatively low salary of the Ghanaian employees of Eni Ghana, some of the experienced employees have resigned to other competitors in the industries, which has adversely affected the localisation policy which is being championed by the Petroleum Commission of the Ghana.

“We believe this does not augur well for the young petroleum industry in Ghana to train and develop competent and experience Ghanaian workforce to take over the management of the resources in the near future.”

Given the average monthly revenue (inflow) of US$123 million, which Eni Ghana and its partners have been achieving during the period January to September 2019, the total monthly labour cost estimate of our proposal for Eni to pay at least 75 percent of the oil and gas market constitute only 0.5545 percent of this revenue value.

“Thus, the total labour cost estimate of this proposal is less than 0.9%, if we are to include other contract workers. Moreover, Eni Ghana will bear only 44.444% of this cost while the rest is cut back to partners (Vitol and GNPC),” parts of the petition signed by the Deputy General Secretary of GTPCWU Francis Sallah stated.

But Eni has denied these claims.

The company also rejected claims of the workers that they are breaching the country’s local content laws.

“More than 75% of Eni Ghana’s workforce is Ghanaian, which is well above the target set by Ghana’s local content regulations (L.I. 2204 regulations 1(c), 18).

In full compliance with the Local Content regulations, Eni Ghana has personalised development plan for every single local resource, and localisation plans for all expatriate positions. The plan is shared on a quarterly basis with Petroleum Commission to monitor its progress. In addition, more than 1 Million USD is invested yearly on training alone for the professional growth of the Ghanaian resources. Performance appraisals are conducted at least once a year.”

Below is the full response from Eni 

Global operating principles

Wherever it operates – and that is 67 countries throughout the world – Eni undertakes its activities according to the highest international standards and best practices, in accordance with local laws, within the parameters set out by competent authorities, agencies and local regulatory frameworks.
In all the contexts in which we work, Eni promotes international labour standards through regulatory documentation, trade union agreements at national and international level, management and development processes, training and communication initiatives. In 2008, Eni drew up a Code of Ethics, which makes explicit reference to workers’ rights and the freedom of trade unions, as well as the “fight against all forms of discrimination, forced and child labour”.
Our policies promote the creation of a work environment in which diversities of any nature are enhanced through a Diversity & Inclusion system in which equal opportunities are offered to all, promoting the creation of an inclusive work environment without distinction of race, color, gender, religion, nationality, political opinion, sexual orientation, social status, age or any other condition of the individual not related to the requirements necessary for the execution of the work.

Allegations of racism and slavery are extremely serious and have never been made to the company. If employees or Unions have evidence of such, they should share their evidences so as to allow the company to immediately investigate such claims and take the appropriate measures. Otherwise, if such claims are unsubstantiated, Eni reserves the right to prosecute false allegations that can damage the company’s reputation.

Local content

More than 75% of Eni Ghana’s workforce is Ghanaian, which is well above the target set by Ghana’s local content regulations (L.I. 2204 regulations 1(c), 18).
In full compliance with the Local Content regulations, Eni Ghana has personalized development plan for every single local resource, and localization plans for all expatriate positions. The plan is shared on a quarterly basis with Petroleum Commission to monitor its progress. In addition, more than 1 Million USD is invested yearly on training alone for the professional growth of the Ghanaian resources. Performance appraisals are conducted at least once a year.

Union negotiations

Negotiations between Eni Ghana and the Union representative on a salary structure ended with a satisfactory agreement for both parties. Confidentiality of the negotiation and its ouputs, which is in the best interest of both parties, prevents us from disclosing further information

 

 

 

 

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