These are not the best of times for Benedict Peters’ led-Aiteo Group as surveillance workers in Opu-Nembe in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa staged a protest at OML 29 operated by Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company recently.
We gathered that the workers were aggrieved over the company’s refusal to pay them their outstanding salaries.
The protesters carried placards with inscriptions such as “Aiteo, stop your divide and rule tactics among your host community’, and “Aiteo, you promised to be better than Shell’’.
Other inscriptions included: “Aiteo, community contractors need fairer deals, give us our due”. Leading the protesters who numbered over 100, their spokesperson, Nicholas Ebiye, challenged the company to meet its contractual obligations to enable the workers get their remunerations promptly.
Ebiye asked the company to review upward the contract value of their employers to enable their pay to be at par with newly employed surveillance workers.
The protesters also demanded that Aiteo provide speedboats for free mobility as well as the provision of safety protection equipment.
They also demanded payment of bonus at the end of every six months and arrears owned them since 2015 when Shell divested and assigned the facility to the company.
The protesters further asked Aiteo to make prompt payment of their monthly emoluments at the end of every month. They gave the company two weeks within which to comply to avoid breach of industrial harmony.
The group regretted Aiteo’s inability to meet its responsibilities since inception over two year ago. The oil company, the group alleged, had refused to pay over N300 million it owned its host community, Opu-Nembe, over hiring of the community’s speedboats, MV Ogbodo 1 and 2.