Yemen: Three employees found killed, as workers demand unpaid wages

Solidarity with workers and their families! Justice for the slain employees!

We recently received the following letter from a representative of 200 workers in Sana’a, Yemen, detailing how they have been abused and left unpaid for their work by the highly profitable oil company TOTAL and its then subcontractor, the security firm G4S. The letter further states that in early December, three workers were killed by an armed gang allegedly on the payroll of these companies. Several multinational companies have halted their operations in Yemen in 2015, the outbreak of the war being used as an excuse to leave many workers deprived of months of overdue income. The CWI calls upon its supporters to help these workers bring their case out and to denounce these scandalous practices by writing protest letters to the companies concerned as well as to the Yemeni authorities, to assist these workers in obtaining justice.

Dear comrades and friends,

We bring to your attention this complaint on behalf of two hundred employees against the French oil company TOTAL, as well as against the security company G4S Yemen.

On Saturday December 3, an armed gang killed 3 employees who were working as security guards in a TOTAL compound.

The two private companies unilaterally finished their contracts at the end of 2015 and pulled out of Yemen without paying their workers their wages or any redundancy compensation. As a result, the workers brought a case to the labor court in Sana’a against these companies. The court issued a decision on December 15, 2015 to provisionally seize all the money that G4S made with TOTAL as well as the property and buildings of TOTAL in Sana'a to ensure the rights and entitlements of the staff, and ordered the reimbursement of their wage arrears.

The Court of Appeal on June 13, 2016 also ordered G4S to pay all the workers’ wages from beginning of 2016 up to June, and to continue to pay them until the case came to an end and the workers got their rights. 

When contacted, TOTAL said that “TOTAL E&P Yemen (TEPY) previously had a contract with G4S for the provision of guard services (the “Contract”). TEPY has fulfilled all of its obligations and made all payments due in relation to the Contract.” 

G4S, on their side, argue that “We confirm that the entity trading in Yemen as ‘G4S Yemen’ is doing so without any right to use the G4S name or logo and that the entity is not trading as a G4S company, G4S has no involvement in the management or operation of this company.” 

In short, both companies decline responsibility in the matter. Meanwhile, one year on, the workers’ families are suffering from hunger, disease and poverty. Some of them have lost children and some have lost their homes and became homeless because they could not pay their rent.

Because of the war and the bad security in Yemen, the representatives of TOTAL and G4S in Yemen have simply ignored the decisions of the court. To intimidate the workers protesting against these practices, we believe they hired armed gangs to rob the employees, who eventually killed three of them.

The workers’ families hope that you report this issue as widely as possible in order to build pressure seeking the arrest of the killers, and to demand that the rights of all these workers are fully satisfied.

Thank you for your support.

You can send letters of protest to: (Caroline Skinner, Regional General Counsel Middle-East of G4S – phone calls can also be made on +971 (0) 4 434 2130) (Philip Jordan, Chairman of the Ethics Committee of Total SA – phone calls can also be made on +33 1 4744 4215) (Yemen’s Ministry of Justice)

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December 2016