Gabon’s oil workers union (ONEP) agreed to suspend its week-long strike on Sunday after the government agreed to improve working conditions and expel approximately 3,000 undocumented foreign workers.

The main issue, according to Gabon’s oil workers, is that expatriate workers are paid a higher wage even though many of them do not have the right work permits and papers.

The United States’ Economic and Business Affairs Bureau released a 2012 Investment Climate report in June stating that out of Gabon’s population of about 1.4 million, as many as 25 per cent are foreigners; mostly Africans from neighbouring countries. However, “Chinese industry in particular imports the majority of its workers from China.”

“The government has given us what we want,” ONEP union spokesman Aime Ipandi told Reuters by telephone.

Although it has been confirmed by a senior official at Gabon’s energy ministry that the government had striked a deal with the oil workers, there is still no word on whether 3,000 undocumented foreign workers will be asked to leave.


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