TENSION IN HALLIBURTON OVER PROVISION OF TOILETRIES, SUGAR
Uneasy calm reigns in the Port Harcourt office of Halliburton Nigeria Limited as the workers are at war with the management over a new policy on issuance of toilet tissues and sugar. This was sequel to workers' temporary shut-down of operations in protest of the new order that forbids employees to take home sugar and toilet tissues issued to them.
The management in a bid to enforce the ban had issued queries to some workers who allegedly ran foul of the order.
But the action attracted the frown of the workers' union that consequently blocked the company's gates with a crane and paralyzed operations by switching off the power plant on Monday.
Sensing danger, many company officials including the expatriate staff were said to have fled the premises for several hours.
Unofficial sources told Daily Sun that until recently, it was the 'usual procedure for years, for each unit to order for provisions' and workers were free to either use them in the office or take the items home.
But that 'freedom' was withdrawn recently on the alleged orders of the Port Harcourt Base Manager, Rev. Uche Samuel who warned that it was against office policy to take any unused provisions including tea, sugar and toilet rolls home.
To enforce the order, the security personnel have been directed to frisk any member of staff including women going out of the company premises.
'At the close of work every day, the ladies file out and their handbags are ransacked, and anyone who is found with any form of toilet paper gets a query which if not well replied, earns a sack'.
Miffed by the new practice, the local workers union has demanded immediate withdrawal of the queries served on four of its members.
Some of the workers who would not want their names in print wondered why the management would bother itself over how and where workers use their provisions when there are more serious issues that could threaten the survival of the company.
They told Daily Sun that on several occasions, there were reported cases of sudden and unexplained disappearance of heavy duty equipment and other prized items from the company premises but which were ignored by the management.
'How come that they are interested in whether or not we drink our tea and sugar or use toilet rolls in the office? Should such an issue cost somebody his or her jobs?
'Why don't they investigate the disappearance of those big things that cost so much? They should stop harassing innocent workers', said an employee. Efforts by Daily Sun to get official reaction to the matter drew blank as our Correspondent was turned back on the two occasions he visited the company's Port Harcourt office.
On Wednesday when Daily Sun made the first visit, a security man insisted that our Correspondent must identify the officers he wanted to see by their names. Later, a security Supervisor re-scheduled the visit for the next day on the ground that the officials were not available. But on the appointed day (Thursday), another Security Supervisor passed words from a certain official referring Daily Sun to the company's Lagos office.