By PATRICK TALU
THE early construction work on the engineering procurement construction on the PNG LNG project pipeline from Kopi to Kaiam in Gulf, Kaiam to Gobe in Southern Highlands and Mubi crossing at border of the two provinces by Clough-Curtain Joint Venture (CCJV) have been halted, The National reports.
The early works stopped last Friday when 108 CCJV employees walked off their job over outstanding industrial issues with the management leaving the constructions in chaos while the early works at PDL 4 and Pipeline 2 for the LNG project was stopped by the Irakorahi people who were impacted by the pipeline as of Oct 13.
Chairman of the landowners, who owns the Mubi valve station, Soni Kanu, said the shutdown followed the lack of response to a petition to Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to address certain demands.
Team leader of the CCJV construction worker Kennedy Onzen told The National yesterday after returning from Kopi on a chartered flight from Gobe to Port Moresby that the workers walked out after the CCJV management failed to address their grievances.
Onzen said on Oct 15, the employees had petitioned CCJV to pay or be assured to pay their safety bonus, which were incident free operation entitlements, and also a pay rise for all employees after their three months probation period lapsed.
He said when they did not receive any response, they petitioned CCJV the same issues and gave until last Friday for any response.
“However, the management failed to respond so I ordered all the boys to stop work and leave” Onzen said.
“Based on past experiences with CCJV, we have learnt that the company does not pay out their entitlements and outstanding allowance, so we wanted and demanded the company to assure us whether our grievances would be met.
“We work on risky work environments and our safety is not guaranteed. We feel that in the event that the construction is over and when we want to claim our entitlements, there is no guarantee that our entitlements will be paid.
“All we want now is for the management to tell us when it will address the grievances,” he stressed.
“We also urge the government to review all the agreements relating local content in the aspect of employment because we see that we the locals will be big time losers after the construction is over,” he said.
Both sites remain closed until today.
Several attempts to get comments from PNG LNG project operator ExxonMobil to confirm the reports were unsuccessful.