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Petrotrin to file appeal today for the injunction granted to OWTU on Petrotrin



By Shane Superville

Petroleumworld 10 09 2018

LEAD attorney for state oil company Petrotrin, Reginald Armour SC, says he intends to appeal the injunction, granted to the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) by the Industrial Court, restricting further termination of employees as part of its restructuring exercise. The appeal is expected to be filed today. Armour is contending that the court has no grounds to grant such an injunction.

Thomas-Felix, in giving her decisions for the ruling, said the court was mindful of the need to deliver an impartial ruling given the evidence presented and the serious nature of the allegations.

She said among her concerns from the arguments put forward by Armour, were his failure to establish proper grounds to convince the court of the changed circumstances which prevented Petrotrin from meeting with the OWTU, and whether a meeting on August 28 was an adequate meeting to satisfy the requirements of the collective bargaining agreement.

“One question the court has to ask itself is whether the risk of injustice will be greater if the injunction is granted or refused. It is our view that there will be a greater injustice if the issues affecting the loss of employment of 5,500 workers are not properly ventilated before the closure of the company. “Indeed, the public interest is one of the considerations which we are mandated to take into account under Section 10 of the Industrial Relations Act in determining any matter before us. When we considered the balance of convenience, the justice of the case and public interest, it is our view that the injunction be granted.”

Responding to the ruling, Armour said the court did not have jurisdiction to grant the injunction and the company was likely to be put into insolvency by its creditors. He said the injunction could mean that workers would not be entitled to the separation packages available for them and described the ruling as a “grave error.”

“We have not heard the court address the very relevant consideration that workers may not get what is promised to them now, with this injunction. We also do not understand anything given by the court today to have considered the affidavit of Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Vishnu Dhanpaul.” Holding for OWTU's attorney Douglas Mendes SC, was Anthony Bullock who said the court was well within its rights to grant the injunction, and there were insufficient grounds to stay the execution.

Legal arguments relating to the Industrial Relations Offence are expected to begin on October 30 at 9.30am and end on November 1.


Story by Shane Superville from Trinidad & Tobago Newsday 10 08 2018

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