Security guards in Balhaf go on strike
The personnel threatened to increase their strike to three hours on Sunday because the security company didn’t pay attention to their demands three months ago, according to Saleh Al-Madhaji, head of the company laborers’ union.
“The strike started for an hour a day. After June 24, it will increase to two hours, after that three hours, continuing untill it reaches five hours at the end of the month, unless the company pays attention to our demands,” Al-Madhaji said.
“There is injustice against the workers in terms of work hours and wages. We demand that the company increase wages to pay us like workers in similar companies,” Al-Madhaji said.
Al-Madhaji said, “The YLNG Company pays bonuses to workers who guard its oil fields in desert areas, we demand our company pay us the same thing.”
Al-Madhaji also said the personnel demand health insurance, transportation to and from work, bonuses for working Fridays, national holidays and overtime at night, paid sick leave and an additional bonus during Ramadan.
They also demanded that work hours be decreased from 16 to 8 and that the company stop illegally taking between YR 2,500 to 5,600 from their paychecks.
Majdi Ba Shadi, secretary general of the company workers’ union, said, “Clauses of the work contract the workers sign are unfair and should be rewritten according to Yemeni law.”
“We met with representatives of the company several times and then we met with a committee, composed of the Ministry of Oil’s representative in Shabwa, the director of Labor Office, the Labor Office representative in Balhaf and the Labor Office representative in Shabwa to solve the matter between the workers and the company but the meetings didn’t produce anything,” Ba Shadi said.
Ba Shadi said, “We, as a union representing the workers, believe company policies are unfair and they should reconsider them. The workers will continue their strike until the company pays attention to their demands.”
Ahmed Al-Qaini, the general manager of the company, said, “We are negotiating with the workers demands. The strike is only for an hour a day, it’s not a full strike. We formed a committee to look into the matter and there is nothing new to say now.”
Shawqi Al-Saqqaf, director of the company’s operations in Balhaf, said, “We can’t do anything because we are committed to contracts signed with the YNLG. We can’t agree to the demands of the workers unless the YNLG agrees. The matter will be arranged but not quickly.”
Regarding work hours, Al-Saqqaf said, “They work on a rotation of eight hours one day and 16 hours the next. They work for one month and then have a month off. They only work six months a year.
The Al-Sharq Masood Security Company workers’ union in Balhaf issued the escalating strike plans and sent copies to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, the Ministry of Oil and Minerals, the Minister of Human Rights, the governor of Shabwa, the head of the Yemeni Workers Unions, the director of the Labor Office in Shabwa, Al-Sharq Masood Company administration and the YNLG administration.
The liquid gas project in Balhaf is the largest gas project the Yemeni government operates. It exports gas to the world market from the harbor.