HC asks govt: Don’t pay employees’ fund to Chevron

HC asks govt: Don’t pay employees’ fund to Chevron

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Dhaka – The High Court on Monday directed the government not to provide the due funds of employees of US energy giant Chevron Bangladesh to the company, as they apprehend that the company might leave the country without paying their funds.In response to a supplementary petition, the HC bench comprising Justice Zinat Ara and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo came up with the order.
The supplementary petition was jointly filed by the 538 Chevron employees as a writ petition is now pending before the HC against the US oil gas giant company for not giving dividend to the officers and workers of the company in accordance with the Labour Law.
Barrister Omar Sadat, counsel for the petitioners, told reporters that the Chevron might leave Bangladesh anytime as it has no fixed asset in Bangladesh and transfer of its share to Xhenhua, a Chinese company, is now under process.
“If Chevron leaves Bangladesh by selling its shares, the employers will not get their due payments under the Workers Participation Fund. The petition was filed with the HC as the company did not pay at about 76 million US dollars to its employers since 2006, he added.
Barrister Sadat said the HC will decide in its final verdict how the employers of Chevron will get the due funds as a rule is pending before it.
Earlier on December 15 last year, in response to a writ petition the HC issued a rule asking the authorities concerned to explain why the punitive action should not be taken against US energy giant Chevron Company for not providing the dividend to the officers and workers in accordance with the Labour Law.
The HC bench issued the rule following a writ petition jointly filed by 531 employees of Dhaka and Sylhet gas fields seeking its directive over the matter.
Secretaries of Labour and Power and Energy, director general of labour department, chief inspector of factories, chief executive of investment board, chairman of Petrobangla and chairman of Shevron have been made respondents to reply to the rule within two weeks.
Later, Omar Sadat told reporters that Chevron is a hundred per cent foreign company. It has been carrying out its business in Bangladesh since 2006. But, recently the company has decided to stop its business in Bangladesh and it sought USD 2 billion from a sale of natural gas assets in Bangladesh.
Although there is a provision in the Labour Law-2006 to provide 0.5 per cent dividend from the whole profit to the workers of the company, but Chevron is yet to provide any dividend to its workers.
The Labour Ministry and Petrobangla have already sent letters to the Chevron authority asking it to give dividend to its workers as per the labour law. But, the company did not pay any heed to the letters. Hence, the petitioners moved before the HC for getting their remedy over the matter, he added. – Staff Reporter

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