DNO Yemen has property seized for failing to pay workers

15.12.2016

Following its illegal withdrawal from the country Norwegian oil company DNO has had its property and assets seized by Yemeni authorities. IndustriALL demands that the seized valuables be used to reimburse arrears in wages and benefits of DNO workers in Yemen, who have not been paid for their work for over a year since June 2015.

In August 2016 the company was ordered to pay its workers or face having its property and assets seized. The company appealed that ruling, however on 23 November 2016 the final decision of the court of appeal was in favour of the 175 workers. According to the DNO Yemen Union the company left the country the same day without an official handover of at least part of its properties and assets. DNO has so far failed to pay due redundancy packages to their workers. Yemeni authorities have now seized DNO’s property, bank accounts and vehicles in Yemen.
 
DNO is an Norwegian oil company with an annual turnover of over US170$ million employing approximately 1,000 workers. After the war broke out in Yemen in March 2015 the company halted its operations. A few months later, in June the company notified its workers through SMS and emails of their dismissal. No work related compensation, let alone wages have been paid back.
 
The company used to pay the lowest wages in Yemen compared to other oil companies operating in the country. Back in 2013 and 2014 workers organized a number of wage related strikes. Management responded with a written threat to dismiss all striking workers in violation of workers’ legal rights to strike in Yemen. The company has investments in countries such as Iraq, Tunisia, Somaliland, Oman, UAE and until recently Yemen.

Once aware of the case of workers deprived of their due income, IndustriALL Norwegian affiliate IndustriEnergi raised the case of Yemeni workers both nationally and internationally. Commenting on the seizure of DNO's assets to Norwegian business newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv, Leif Sande, IndustriEnergi president and co-chair of the IndustriALL energy sector said “the verdict and the seizure of DNO’s properties and assets are very good and appropriate”.
 
On 16 November DNO signed a letter of intent to start operations in Iran. After the fact became known publicly, IndustriEnergi sent an official letter to the National Iranian Oil Company denouncing DNO’s misconduct in Yemen and warning them from working with DNO.
 
IndustriALL global union assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan pledged IndustriALL's support to Yemeni workers saying,

“It is scandalous what DNO has done in Yemen. Leaving with no pay those who worked for the company for more than ten years especially in time when the war broke out in the country. We join our affiliate IndustriEnergi’s efforts and will exert all our pressure on the company and will not stop until they pay out the last penny due to the workers.”