Oil companies in the Ivory Coast should be committed to social dialogue, the rule of law, protection of workers’ rights and freedom of association, and the government should ensure that this happens, said IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Valter Sanches, when meeting with the country’s minister of energy, oil and mines, and minister of employment and social protection to demand better treatment of workers in the oil and gas sector.
IndustriALL met with the Ivory Coast’s minister of energy, oil and mines, Thierry Tanoh, and with the minister of employment and social protection, Jean Claude Kouass, together with IndustriALL regional secretary for Sub Saharan Africa, Paule France Ndessomin, and IndustriALL affiliate in the country SYNTEPCI general secretary, Jeremy Wondje.
Sanches called for and end to the abuse of contract workers in the oil sector, and said that IndustriALL’s global framework agreements with multinational companies including Total, are effective tools to that end. The GFAs contain provisions for decent work, respect for workers’ rights and freedom of association along the supply chain.
SYNTEPCI has been challenging dismissals and poor working conditions at Klenzi and Petroci, and hopefully the matters will be resolved after the promises were made by the ministers.
According to Kouassi, although the Ivory Coast welcome investments this should not be at the expense of workers. Poor wages and working conditions are not acceptable and investors have to abide by decent wages, health and safety standards and social protection. Better working conditions also brought financial benefits to companies that invested in the country. The minister said he would convene a conference to discuss contract work to find “solutions and a common understanding” to address precarious working conditions.
In response Sanches says:
While we welcome the initiative by the minister, IndustriALL understands the use of contract work in specific cases but the replacement of permanent workers with contract workers — who end up doing jobs of a permanent nature — is unacceptable and must be looked into. Hopefully, social dialogue is the way
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