EXCLUSIVE: Inside the Total E&P Staff Revolt

The workers of Total E&P continued the sit-down strike on Thursday for the second day and Friday is even expected to get worse, information pills according to sources at the company.

The Ugandan nationals working with the oil giant took industrial action on Wednesday over immense disparity in the salary figures between the locals and the expatriates.

The wage discrepancy that the nationals are protesting is detailed in the Auditor General’s report of released in March 2015.

The copies of the report seen by ChimpReports have recommendations that were supposed to be undertaken by the oil company nothing has been implemented, what is ed according to the nationals.

According to the World Bank guideline on measurement of local content, “an alternative to measuring the headcount of nationals in the workforce or in the execution of a particular contract is to report the salaries or wages paid by the company to national employees and other payrolled staff”.

In 2014, Total E&P had the total of 167 employees in which Ugandans were 129 and 38 were expatriates.

The oil company spent a total of Shs 2, 764,752,910 in wages in 2014. The 38 expatriates took home Shs2,103,601,187 which is equivalent of 76 percent in salaries and allowances while significant majority Ugandans (129) took only Shs 661,151,723 which is an equivalent of 24 percent.

On top of getting extremely high salaries against that of locals, the expatriates are also living in posh houses in Kololo rented by Total E&P while the Ugandans getting small salaries are footing their own accommodation bills.


“The expatriates who are doing more or less the same work we do are sleeping in free houses in Kololo paid fully by the company while we fend for ourselves,” a Ugandan worker who asked not to be named told this reporter.

The school fees for the children of expatriates who are all studying in expensive international schools are also being paid by Total E&P while locals pay the school fees of their children.

Meanwhile, out of 10 senior management positions in Total E&P, only one Ugandan is employed and the remaining 9 have been taken up by expatriates.

In the middle management, there are 32 expatriates and 63 Ugandans while all the 61 people in the lower management are locals.

Total workers on a sit-down strike
Total workers on a sit-down strike

Troubles Expected on Friday

Reliable sources at Total E&P headquarters at Course View Kololo confided to this reporter that the strike is drastically going to take a different direction on Friday.

The underprivileged majority Ugandans have planned to chase all the minority privileged expatriates and detain all the posh cars.

“We are chasing all of them tomorrow and they should not try to take the cars because they belong to Uganda,” a source at the headquarters told this reporter.

The Auditor General observed in his report that the “wide differences in basic salary payments negatively affect the level of benefit by nationals from the petroleum sector,” adding, “The engagements with the oil companies should ensure that the salary gaps are addressed.”

Oil companies explained that expatriates are paid according to the terms set in their countries of origin which are higher than the Nationals.

However, Article 33 of the PSA states that the agreement shall be governed by, interpreted and construed in accordance with the laws of Uganda and generally accepted principles of international law.

According to a legal opinion by the legal officer PEPD, dated 12/10/12 it was stated that: “whereas it is agreeable that oil companies are free to present favourable and competitive terms to their employees, the basis for those terms should be the laws of the country within which they are carrying out petroleum operations rather than their countries of origin.”

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