News: Djiboutian workers follow winds of change
Story by Sgt. Brandon McCarty
By Army Sgt. Brandon McCarty
Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Public Affairs
CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti – Kellogg, Brown and Root is on the way out. Pacific Architects & Engineers is in. Starting in September, PAE will take control of support operations at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti.
"(PAE) is very excited about the opportunity to work for the Navy in Djibouti," said Allen Shay, president of PAE. "We are looking forward to working with the people of Djibouti to provide the service and technical expertise the Navy needs to maintain their operations in this vital part of the world."
During a recent information fair in the New Cantina at Camp Lemonier, PAE dispelled many rumors that were circulating throughout the workers, such as mass firings, contract disputes, corrupt brokers and job security.
"Our goal is to hire Djiboutians for as many of the jobs at Camp Lemonier as possible," said Howard Butcher, PAE operations manager for Djibouti. "The labor subcontractors will do everything they can to hire Djiboutians for jobs that best match their skills. PAE is known for developing and training employees to positions of increased responsibility."
The Lockheed-Martin Company, with over 400 completed contracts at sites throughout Africa, Europe, North America, Central America and Asia in their 52-year history, opened up the floor for any questions or concerns the Djiboutians had on their minds. Many workers wanted reassurance that they would be treated fairly and that the Djiboutian labor laws would be followed.
"We (Djiboutians) treat everyone on camp as a guest in our country," said Mahanoud Awaleh, a security worker. I have made a lot of friends since working here for the last four years, and I don't want to lose that closeness with the (deployed troops)."
Another concern addressed during the information session was the disciplinary chain of command. Supposedly, third country nationals (TCNs) in supervisory positions were firing Djiboutians at will, for no reason said Awaleh.
"Under PAE, the only person who can fire anyone is the project manager," said Wyant M. Lauterman, PAE flight operations officer. "If a problem arises, we will sit down with both the worker and the supervisor and hear both sides of the story and adjust accordingly."
Bottom line, PAE will retain all current KBR Djiboutian employees at Camp Lemonier, will ensure all workers are treated fairly, will help identify training needs for the workers and will actively promote workers from within the work force. According to PAE, the winds of change are blowing in favor of the Djiboutians.