Today the trade union organizations of Ukrnafta held a peaceful protest rally by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. As many as 2500 employees of the company have come to Kyiv from all over Ukraine to protect their right to work and protest against blocking of the company’s operations by the State Geological Service and Ministry of Environment.
Ukrnafta will see 9 of its licenses expire in 2017 and 27 more licenses in 2018. The unlawful refusal by the State Geological Service to extend the licenses have already led to halt in production of oil and gas at a number of fields. The company has already seen a 17% decline in production of oil and gas, decline in production of LPG and almost complete shutdown of Gnidyntsy gas processing plant. The company has already announced cuts in its investment programs and warned about potential loss of 1500 jobs. The stoppage of production has left without gas thousands of residents in 8 communities in the Sumy region.
Head of the Trade Union Committee of Ukrnafta employees Igor Kopach:
‘While the country is fending off Russia’s aggression in the East and Ukraine is trying to reduce consumption of imported gas, a different war is being waged in the government offices – a treacherous war against the country’s oil industry to completely undermine Ukraine’s energy independence. It is our responsibility to warn that the actions by the authorities will have catastrophic consequences leading to halt in operations of Ukrnafta and loss of domestic oil production and billions in tax revenues for the state’.
The representatives of the trade unions handed over to the Cabinet of Ministers the list of their demands:
- extend and issue to Ukrnafta 9 licenses as confirmed by court decisions;
- review and approve the financial rehabilitation plan of the company proposed by the management
- work out a mechanism for repayment of Ukrnafta’s tax debt, including through recovery of Ukrnafta’s natural gas from Naftogaz;
- bring to responsibility government officials whose unlawful actions have led to stoppage of production at a number of fields.
‘Unless the labor collective of the company receives a meaningful responses from the Government, the next step is a nation-wide strike by the company’s employees’, says the Trade Union Committee of Ukrnafta.
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