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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05LAGOS531 2005-04-07 18:16:00 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Lagos
Cable title:  

AMCITS RELEASED IN TIDEX STRIKE; STRIKE CONTINUES,

Tags:   EPET EINV CASC PGOV ASEC MOPS NI 
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071816Z Apr 05
					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 000531 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/W
STATE FOR CA/OCS/SDENYER
STATE FOR EB/ESC/IEC/ENR/BLEVINE
STATE FOR DS/IP/AF
STATE FOR INR/AA
STATE PASS DOE FOR DAS JBRODMAN AND CGAY
STATE PASS TREASURY FOR ASEVERENS AND SRENENDER
STATE PASS DOC FOR PHUPER
STATE PASS TRANSPORTATION FOR MARAD
STATE PASS OPIC FOR ZHAN AND MSTUCKART
STATE PASS TDA FOR BTERNET
STATE PASS EXIM FOR JRICHTER
STATE PASS USTR FOR ASST USTR SLISER
STATE PASS USAID FOR GWEYNAND AND SLAWAETZ

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2015
TAGS: EPET EINV CASC PGOV ASEC MOPS NI
SUBJECT: AMCITS RELEASED IN TIDEX STRIKE; STRIKE CONTINUES,
VESSELS STILL OCCUPIED

REF: A. ABUJA 522


B. LAGOS 521

C. LAGOS 509

Classified By: Consul General Brian L. Browne for Reasons 1.4 (D & E)

Summary
--------



1. (C) Tidex reported all expatriates, including ten
AMCITs, have safely left the vessels in Onne and
Escravos ports. GON intervention with national union
leadership seems have played a role convincing the
strikers to allow the expatriates off the vessels.
The strikers still control approximately 22 Tidex vessels,
and have not agreed to return to work or release the
vessels. Tidex will meet GON officials and unions in Abuja
on Friday in a bid to resolve remaining issues. Tidex
management complains the Onne NUPENG executive council
maintains power through threats and intimidation of
rank-and-file workers.

Expatriates, Including Amcits, Released by Strikers
Through GON Intervention with Unions


--------------------------



--------------------------





2. (SBU) Mission has learned from Tidex Managing Director
Bob Vaughn that approximately forty expatriates, including
ten AMCITs held by Tidex strikers since 11 March, have been
released unharmed. GON pressure via petroleum union NUPENG
and PENGASSAN national leadership appears to have been the
fillip. MD Vaughn told us several GON officials provided
assurances to Tidex management the strikers would now allow
the expatriates to depart. Based on these assurances, the
firm decided move the expatriates this morning, despite the
strikers making numerous threats in the last week against
them. This morning, the firm told the expatriate crews to
depart the vessels; the movement was completed by about 0915,
with all expatriates safe.

Focus Shifts to Friday Meeting Between GON, Tidex, Labor


--------------------------



--------------------------





3. (C) As per reftel A, a meeting between the GON, labor,
and maritime agency JUMALIC is planned for 8 April in
Abuja. MD Vaughn has confirmed the Tidewater/Tidex
management team will attend the meeting. (Note:
Tidewater/Tidex management has resisted negotiations with
NUPENG and PENGASSAN, stating they will not negotiate until
the strikers return to work. However, they seem to have
realized they must be at the table during this all-hands
session. End note.) Special Assistant to the President on
Petroleum Matters Alhaji Paki complained to Energy Off that
the Tidewater/Tidex management team was "difficult" to deal
with, but was pleased when we assured him they would attend
the Ministry of Labor-led meeting.

Tidex Vessels Still Being Held;
No Agreement to Release Vessels or Return to Work


--------------------------



--------------------------





4. (C) While the expatriate crew have been released,
Tidex still faces numerous challenges. Tidex management
believes a significant number of their crews have been
coerced into participating in the strike. As pressure to
end the strike mounts, they fear possible violence between
workers who favor returning to work and those who want
to continue the strike. Additionally, Tidex management is
concerned about possible damage to the approximately 22
vessels (valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars). The
strikers have not agreed to return to work; the strike
continues to cost the firm about $110,000/day.

Tidex Faces Poisonous Labor Situation;
Blames Criminal Element in Unions


--------------------------




5. (C) This is Tidex's sixth strike in the last eight
months. Both Ministry of Petroleum Resources officials
and labor leaders have called the relationship between
Tidex and the petroleum unions "frayed," and "difficult."
MD Vaughn and other Tidewater management, however, would
point to what they call a criminal element in their local
NUPENG leadership to explain their difficulties. The
Tidewater/Tidex management team is convinced a "mafia" has
taken over the NUPENG's local leadership in Onne. MD Vaughn
believes this group is driving the current strike and
abrogation of existing collective bargaining agreements.



6. (C) MD Vaughn notes recent troubles began when this new
group overthrew the pre-existing NUPENG executive council,
and then claimed they were not bound by collective
bargaining agreements signed by previous leadership. He
charges the local NUPENG executive council uses threats and
intimidation to maintain power, noting two Tidex employees
have been shot in past union disputes. He states the
practice of the rank-and-file members having to pay the
senior union leadership to hold a position with Tidex is
common. He also ties the recent problems to management
efforts to cut costs associated with fraud and abuse. He has
eliminated several million in costs in the last year, much of
it through tighter fiscal oversight. He notes the firm had
been paying millions in fraudulent travel and medical bills.
He believes that management efforts to eliminate this
spending have hurt members of the Onne area NUPENG executive
council who might have been profiting from the malfeasance.

BROWNE