British Gas “forced to shut down” if sit-ins in front of its plant go on
TUNIS, May 14, 2011 (TAP) –
British Gas Tunisia, first producer of natural gas in Tunisia will be “forced to shut down Saturday” if the problem of access to its plant in Sfax is not settled, affirmed BG President Ian Perks.
He urged Tunisian authorities to provide a swift solution to the deadlock resulting from the sit-ins of members of the neighbouring communities in front of the plant premises in Nakta (Sfax).
For Ian Perks ”what is taking place is unacceptable and it is impossible to keep the plant running.”
The closing of the company would lead, according to a communique released by the company before, to stop its gas production that meets more than half of the country’s domestic needs in this field and generates electricity to the whole of Tunisia.
British gas also said in this communiqué that “its staff and
workers have been held hostage for over 48 hours now inside
the plant” and “a group of the local community forced their
way into the Hasdubal/Hannibal site.”
BG openly criticized “the persistent lack of support from the relevant authorities” in such a way as to secure free access to the facilities and ensure the security of employees and neighbouring communities.”
Indeed, citizens from the regions of Chaffar, Bouokazine and Nakta have been staging their sit-in on Friday in front of the local British gas plant, reported TAP local correspondent.
This sit-in is taking place after a disagreement between these communities and the company officials over the implementation of the agreement concluded by both sides and providing for the employment of a number of citizens and the granting of micro-credits to create sources of income for others.
The latter notably contest the resort to a regional commission to look at the question of micro-credits that will be financed by the company and call for dealing directly with the local development associations as was the case for the first 42 micro-credits.
The company reckons for its part that this commission is likely to provide further efficiency to the projects that will be carried out through these micro-credits.
In addition, local residents refuse ” the reduction of the amount of the micro-credit from 5 000 to 2 000 dinars” and deny that they threatened to close the plant.
British gas had promised in its agreement with representatives of the vicinity to hire 60 of them and mobilize about 2,7 million dinars for micro-credits and social investment plans.
BG refuses in its communiqué to always change “the terms of the agreements signed or give in once again to threats “.