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27.09.2005 General News

[email protected]: Koreans to take home $10,000

By Chronicle
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Investigations conducted by The Chronicle shows that over 60 skilled workers of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), including engineers, technicians, boards men and others from RFCCU, Topping Department, Power House Unit, Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) are expected to leave the company by the end of this week.

And as a result of the vacuum created TOR management have requested for the services of about 12 Korean experts, who we gathered would take home over $10,000 each as monthly salaries to fill the vacuum, meaning TOR would part with over $120,000 monthly to the Korean workers.

At the time of filing this report over 30 workers had already packed bag and baggage and left.

According to our investigations the Government of Oman has built a new RFCCU, which is about five times bigger than that of TOR and is seeking for expert hands to man it.

We gathered that some staff of S.K. Corporation, the Korean company that built TOR's RFCCU, recommended the workers of TOR for the job and therefore the Oman government decided to poach the workers and pay them between $2,600 and $4000, depending on one's profession.

All the over 60 workers would have left by now, but for some technical hitch on the part of personnel of the Emirate Airlines, the airline which is to fly all the Ghanaian workers to Oman.

Further investigations conducted by the paper at TOR indicate that most of the workers wouldn't have left in spite of the mouth-watering remunerations being dangled at their faces but because of lack of motivation at the plant by the present management team headed by Dr. K.K. Sarpong.

We further gathered that both the junior and senior workers are morally down as a result of poor working conditions and had threatened to go to arbitration for improve service conditions. Meanwhile members of the board have had their sitting allowances increased by more than four hundred percent.

We also learnt that because of the exodus of the workers and vacuum created the TOR management are compelled to ask some of the worker to do overtime between 16-18 hours daily.

But, Mrs. Aba Lokko, Public Affairs Manager of TOR, in an interview with the paper last Friday, denied that the RFCCU has been shut down because of the shortage of workers at the plant, rather it is because it was due for maintenance for the next five days.

She also denied that management has been asking workers to do between 16 and 18 hours overtime work daily to make up for the vacuum created by the departure of the workers.

On the mass exodus of workers from the company, Mrs. Lokko admitted that there have been reports of people leaving the company, but information available to her is that only 14 people have officially tendered in their resignation letters.

According to her, management of TOR have information that three oil rich countries namely, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait have each set up RFCCU in their respective countries and are looking for competent hands to man them for them.

She said they are looking for all categories of workers and she believes that explains why people are leaving for the area and not because of working conditions at the plant.

She explained that at the time of our interview, negotiations for the junior workers for upward adjustment of salaries had already been completed and that of the senior workers was about to be completed.

When asked about the contingency arrangement made by the TOR to save the vacuum created by the exodus, she asked Ghanaians not to panic because there were enough arrangements to keep the situation under control.

Firstly, she said the refinery has about one month fuel stock to take care of the situation and secondly, they have requested S.K. Corporation, the company which built the plant to release 10 experts (both engineers and technicians) to TOR to initially fill the vacuum and secondly to train new hands to make up for the vacuum.

Continuing, Mrs. Lokko said there were plans to shift workers from other departments who somehow are a bit familiar with work at the RFCCU and get them trained by the Koreans and employ more people to fill the other departments.

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