Saturday, March 26, 2011

strike notification

ONEP, which is the umbrella union organization for oilfield employees in Gabon sent out a strike notification this past Monday. The demands center around the classic issues of local employment and compensation. For this particular notification, the government is rapidly running out of time to meet the union's demands before the strike starts this coming Monday in two days. If the strike notification goes through, then all oilfield-related activity will pretty much cease. I am not sure if all employees are in the union or just the field-related personnel. Either way, activity will stop and I might be working from home by Monday.

In order to avoid a strike, the government must issue a decree addressing the amount of expatriate labor allowed in the country. The target is 90% local content in the industry. Reality is falling quite a bit short of that figure. Like many of the countries in this part of the world, it's largely a matter of qualified personnel. Work ethic is also an issue, especially for Gabon, as it is much easier to find dedicated people in other nearby countries than to find them in Gabon.

Time is short and I am not sure I feel very strongly about this either way. Regardless of what happens, my own plans will not change and I will not really be the one left to pick up the pieces and get activity to resume. I am not sure when I am leaving or if the strike will interrupt fuel deliveries, though basic services are supposed to continue functioning. I think the union is clever enough to realize that a general shutdown of utilities will not endear them to the general population.

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