TODAY.AZ / Society

McDermott workers' patience runs out as they stage walk out - UPDATED

22 November 2005 [17:36] - TODAY.AZ
Today workers of McDermott, RSN and Kentek companies gathered in front of the 8th workshop of the Deep Foundations Plant and began a strike demanding to raise their salary.

18:52

Day.Az correspondent tried to find out about results of today’s strike from the McDermott administration, however he could not receive answers to his questions. The only thing what became known was that the strike is over.  No information regarding the question of the workers’ demands being satisfied was given by press service of the company.

"The strike is over. The information released by McDermott where it stated that only several hundred people participated in the strike is false. "Voice of America" radio station held a poll at the spot of the strike that showed that there were at least 2000 men participating in it. The workers gave the company a week to answer their demands. If they will not be satisfied the strike will be repeated," stated Mirvari Gahramanly, chairman of the Oil Workers’ Right Defense Committee.

According to her, during negotiations, the administration tried to pin point the organizers of the strike. They called the workers to send their representatives for negotiations however the last refused to do so since they knew that it will endanger their fellows.  Gahramanly stated that such kind of strike is possible to happen at another plant – Anshad Petrol. "The reason is that this and many other enterprises are not following the order of the President Ilham Aliyev on minimal wage increase," stated Gahramanly.

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16:27

"It is outrageous! Salaries of our Azeri guys are being cut, but Hindus and Filipinos get raised. For example until the recent time, I had a salary of $450 per month along with overtimes, now I get barely $300. That is why we are protesting. Because who but us is the owner of our oil?!” angrily spoke Azeri employee of McDermott.

According to the worker they have started the strike since early morning. The workers called Azeri office staff of McDermott to join them, however their call was left unanswered.

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16:00

About 3000 workers stopped working at 08:30 a.m today demanding improvement of working conditions, pay rise and putting an end to discrimination policy against them.

According to the information given by the correspondent of APA at the scene, the administration of the company did not allow the journalist to enter the territory of the plant. However, the strikers insisted on letting the journalists in and about 500 strikers left the plant and encircled the journalists who are were not admitted by the administration, taking them to the yard of the plant.

The workers stated that, they are paid much lesser than the foreign employees: "An Azerbaijani employee is paid $150-200 while the foreigners are paid $2500-3000 for the same work. Some foreign employees get $25000-30000. Azerbaijani workers can be dismissed for a small mistake. And if Azerbaijani worker takes off the helmet for some seconds he is even dismissed on this pretext. The foreigners, even the citizens of the most undeveloped countries who do the same are respected and cared. We are often insulted. Our canteens are also separate and we are given bad food. An Armenian from Lebanon, called George is working at the plant and he troubles Azerbaijanis subordinate to him, he offends Azerbaijanis whenever he likes. The workers complained of him for many times. However, these complaints were not reviewed".

The workers stated that they will go on strike till 4:00 p.m. today. They underlined, they will go on non-stop strike if their demands are not met. No police forces were called to the place being replaced only by 50 company guards present at the scene. The company administration did not go our closing doors of their offices.

The participants of the action counted 600-700 men. In general, more than 3000 employees went on strike. Head of the Trade Union Organization of Deep Foundations Plant Adalet Nasirov and the head of Trade Union Organization of "McDermott" called Javahir refused to give any statement. Vise-president of the company on juridical and technical affairs David Hilpman told APA that the strike started yesterday.

Though 800 employees signed the appeal on going on strike 400 of them stopped working today. About 1600 Azerbaijanis work for the company. "We review the salaries in January only. However, the workers demand pay rise. Their other demands are also groundless. There is a same attitude towards all workers, regardless of their nationalities in the company. We wonder why this step was taken. We shall investigate it," said Hilpman.

The workers also told APA that, about 30 workers who uttered their demands actively have been dismissed from the plant: "They were dismissed because they demanded pay rise and normal working conditions. There is no other reason". The workers also stated that, Romanian workers went on strike some days ago too. They achieved in raising their payments for 17.5%. The strike continues.

APA

URL: http://www.today.az/news/society/21401.html

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