Dec 01, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – Stakeholders the world over have accepted that major oil companies such as ExxonMobil would have generated ’Observe’ profits from the energy sector following consecutive periods of high returns highlighted in quarterly earning calls. While some nations have demanded returns from the companies increased revenue, so are workers grappling with the high cost of living and the threat of a global recession.
A report out of Fawley Village, Hampshire, in England said that oil workers there downed tools for some two weeks after ExxonMobil and its industry, Contractors Altrad and Bilfingerm, refused to negotiate an additional pay increase for affected workers. Video footage from London based civil rights group, ‘ReelNews’ showed scores of oil workers protesting against the ‘pitiful’ 2.5 percent pay increase even as they claimed that Exxon Mobil had sent police ranks to harass and intimidate them into backing down from industrial action. It has been stated that around 100 Boilermakers, Welders, Pipefitters, Mechanical Fitters and Scaffolders at the Fawley Plant in Hampshire had taken part in the action.
The video which aired last Sunday presented interviews with workers who claimed that the company was making extraordinary profits but unwilling to speak with workers over a pay increase. “A company making billions simply refusing to pay its workforce a decent wage,” one worker told the activist group. Another declared that workers have been asking for “a hardship pay rise” but the company just said “no” and refused to negotiate. Another worker who was identified as a Welder said there is a lot of anger among workers because, “they’re right under our noses saying we’re making this much money and don’t know what to do with it.” The worker said that given the large sums made, their unions have asked for a pound more, but the company is refusing. It was later believed however that the workers would not have to engage in industrial action after Exxon said it had an offer. The company nonetheless refused to put the deal on the table thus initiating the protest action that is expected to last for some two weeks initially.
A representative of ‘Unite’, one of the UK’s leading Workers’ Unions said that Exxon Mobil made an obscene 3 billion Euros profit in their last quarter, “but has tied their workers into a pitiful 2.5 percent pay rise both this year and next. All the workers are asking for is a Euro 1.62 rise on the hourly bonus payments to try and protect them a bit from inflation, now running at 14.2 percent RPI – but Exxon and their Contractors (Bilfinger, Altrad, Enerveo and Royal Engineering) are refusing to even speak to workers who risked their health to ensure those profits continued throughout the pandemic.”
“In fact, far from trying to settle this dispute, the bosses have instead been spreading disgusting lies about the strikers, accusing them of wolf whistling under age school girls and attacking vehicles.” ‘ReelNews’ highlighted in their video however that the reality was that the strike played out in “a very polite and civil picket line, with an incredible amount of workers refusing to cross in support when they hear what the strike is about.” Other oil workers on hearing the reason for the protest refused to cross the picket line.
“The strikers’ courage and bravery in standing up to such nasty, bullying employers has earned them the nickname “The Fawley Fighters” – and the bosses’ underhand tactics have only made them more determined to win,” ReelNews reported. It said that ‘Unite’ and ‘GMB’ unions will be continuing the strike into a second week – and then will give the bosses three days to agree to negotiate. “If there’s no response, another two week strike will take place from December 8 – 21.”
In August, it was United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who called on nations to implement windfall taxes on oil companies making excessive profits from the oil sector. He urged countries to implement taxes and use the sums to assist the vulnerable. “It is immoral for oil and gas companies to be making record profits from this energy crisis on the backs of the poorest people…,” Guterres said before highlighting that the combined profits of the largest energy companies in the first quarter of this year were nearly $100 billion. The trend continued into the year with oil companies’ profits continuing to soar. This caused more calls for windfall taxes. In Guyana, where Exxon Mobil is banking heavily on the country’s resources to continue its record-breaking profits, windfall taxes are not being implemented as the Government says its contract with the company does not allow it. Countries such as Germany, Spain, Canada, the United States and Britain among others have already implemented a second tax on oil companies while some are in the process of doing so.
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