Zumol Counters Protest with Massive Layoff
Yoma, Lonetrek - The standoff between Zumol Chemical management and its construction workers on Yoma III came to an end today when the company announced that it was releasing all construction employees from service effective immediately. The decision, applauded by financial analysts as the best way to resolve the issue with a minimum of fiscal disruption, came as a blow to those workers hoping to better their situation.
Construction employees at the Yoma III site were given no choice in the matter, and were instructed to immediately board the next available transport bound for the Caldari Provisions station at Isinokka VI - Moon 7. "I hate to see it come to this, but I'll be glad to be off this rock," said Kizen Ohtainnen as he waited for a shuttle. A job-site foreman who had become a de facto spokesman for the workers, Ohtainnen expressed disappointment that Zumol had refused to budge. "The sad thing is that some other poor bastard is just going to end up suffering through the same hardships that we have."
Indeed Zumol appears to be moving quickly to make up for the shortfall in labor and the lost time brought on by the work-stoppage. Over the past week, the company has extended a large number of contract offers to replacement laborers. The very same transports that brought the released workers up from the planet spent their return trips ferrying new employees to the job-site. Though there were no issues of violence or disruption (perhaps because this transition happened under the watchful eye of site security forces), there was some antipathy between the two groups as they passed on the shuttle concourse.
"Don't these idiots realize that Zumol's going to do to them exactly what they did to us?" asked Jakudai Kuumastra. "How many of them are going to have to get injured or crippled or killed before they figure it out? They look all fresh-faced now, but I guarantee you in six months they'll look tired and dirty and broken just like us. And for what? So Zumol can make their quarterly numbers?"
For their part, some of the new workers were equally vociferous. Billiya Haajikio, a crane operator from Juunigaishi said, "These guys didn't realize how lucky they were. I've been out of work for almost a year now, and Zumol was willing to pay our way all the way out here, house us, feed us, and give us a decent wage. Sure, the conditions are hard, but that's what hazard pay is for." This opinion was shared by many of the newcomers, most of whom viewed the Zumol job as an opportunity.
Still, most of those workers forced to leave stood by their decision, however much financial difficulty it might cause them. As he boarded the last transport leaving the site, Kizen Ohtainnen said, "At least I know that my kids are going to grow up knowing their father." Pointing to the new recruits filing off the ship, he added, "Some of them won't be able to say the same."
Zumol officials stated confidently that the Yoma III project would be back on schedule and within budget shortly.