Home Environment Ogoni Cleanup: Workers Protest Non-payment of Three Months Wages by HYPREP

Ogoni Cleanup: Workers Protest Non-payment of Three Months Wages by HYPREP

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Ogoni Cleanup: Workers Protest Non-payment of Three Months Wages by HYPREP

…as the project promises to begin payment soon

Nelson Chidiebere

Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) workers working at the Centre of Excellence in Weeyakara in Khana council of Rivers state, have protested over an alleged non-payment of their daily stipends.

It was gathered that the workers, yesterday, staged a protest at the entrance of the Centre of Excellence construction site claiming that the Cleanup giant owes them three months’ wages.

They were seen in clusters at the entrance to the site just as they threatened to shut down the project till the Project Coordination Office(PCO) heard their demands.

Speaking, one of the protesters who preferred anonymity demanded the Project to as soon as possible pay all their outstanding wages.

He said: “We want HPYREP to keep to its promises and pay us our daily stipends as they agreed. We are aware that those on training are being paid every month but we are so surprised that we working at the Center of Excellence we have not received a dime from them. That is why we are staging this protest.

“We have been patient enough. We want them to keep to their promise and pay us.

“They owe us from October 2023 to January 2024 and this is February. They agreed to pay us on Thursday the previous week but they failed us and till now they have not paid so we decided to protest.

“We started the job in August 2023. Our money is supposed to be N10,000 for skilled workers and N5,000 for unskilled workers daily but they said it is N3,000 they will pay, still they do not want to pay.”

However, HYPREP Head of Communication, Enuolare Mba-Nwigoh, in a statement, said the Project has approved the payment of the stipend which is an augmented sum paid to the community workers on the site this week, adding that the money is being processed.

He explained that the community workers on the site were previously paid between N1,500 and N1,600 by China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) the contractor for the Project, and the money in contention is an augmented money to help the workers, noting that the CCECC had said the N1,500 daily amount conforms with industry practice.

He explained: “However, the Project Coordinator, Professor Nenibarini Zabbey, places a premium on human interest issues, including staff welfare, and had made a strong case for a review of community workers’ daily allowance to N5,000 and N6,000. This was graciously approved by the Hon. Minister of Environment, Balarabe Abbas Lawal and payment was effected in November 2023.

“We reiterate that HYPREP is a people-centric project and continues to demonstrate this through policies and programmes that engender direct and indirect maximal benefit for the Ogoni people. We can only expect the community workers who have been engaged on a casual basis to reciprocate this gesture by conducting themselves in a manner that would not disrupt the peace and operations on site as CEER is thriving towards the completion of the project within the timeline.

” While we implore our stakeholders including community workers to endeavour to exhaust engagement paradigms before resorting to protests, which could be counter-productive, we further call for patience and mutual collaboration for the successful completion of the project.”

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