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Chevron Sickout, Workers Push For Severance Pay

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Chevron Sickout, Workers Push For Severance Pay

Unread post by bimjim » Wed Mar 09, 2011


Chevron Sickout, Workers Push For Severance Pay
07 March 2011.

Airlines flying into the VC Bird International Airport are counting their losses after Chevron fuel attendants staged a two-day sickout here for the second time in weeks, forcing aircraft to refuel elsewhere.

The workers are protesting plans by the US-based energy company to sell its fuels marketing and aviation businesses in the English and French-speaking Caribbean to the French company Rubis.

The industrial action is expected to at least temporarily come to a halt today, but airlines will be tallying the cost of running contingency plans as they brace themselves for possible further action in the near future.

The employees, up to press time, had failed to reach an agreement with the company over their demands to be severed and “paid off”, which means a repeat of their action is possible in the near future.

Airline Association President Bernard Ho warned the costs already sustained will be “astronomical” despite there being no cancellations for the duration of the strike action. Ho, who is also the airport manager for Virgin Atlantic, explained all the airlines have been running back-up plans since they received word from Chevron almost three weeks ago that possible industrial action was pending.

“We have been basically tankering fuel; in other words, when the airline leaves the destination, instead of taking the minimum fuel or fuel required, which would give you enough for holding and diversions, we’re actually winding up taking more than that,” Ho said.

The Airline Association president explained that the action has also resulted in airlines having to travel as far as Guadeloupe, the Dominican Republic, and St Lucia to refuel.

Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation John Maginley has called on the parties to come together as soon as possible to resolve the issue but accepted the rights of the workers to take action.

Meanwhile the worker’s representative Antigua & Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) General Secretary David Massiah is not happy with how the company has been dealing with the situation.

“The company continues to show defiance. They are what I consider more bullheaded. They are not talking to the workers and the union properly and we have made the recommendation long ago that the workers preferred to be paid off,” Massiah said.

In November last year, Chevron announced that it had agreed to sell its fuels, marketing and aviation businesses in Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Dominica, St Lucia, St Vincent, Guyana, St Kitts, French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Trinidad, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Belize to Vitogaz, SA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rubis, an international downstream petroleum company based in France.

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