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Petrotrin terminated 5,000-plus workers, Paria, Heritage companies to take over State oil operations

 

 

By Corey Connelly

PORT SPAIN
Petroleumworld 10 15 2018


Even as Petrotrin prepares to begin issuing termination letters to its 5,000-plus employees, tomorrow, the Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) yesterday began a series of advertisements highlighting the contributions of workers and retirees of the ailing State-owned company.

In one of the ads, which appeared in yesterday's Newsday, refinery worker Anil Bhagowtee was quoted as saying he worked with the company for some 28 years and had witnessed many plant upgrades as well as the construction of new plants “all on par with international refineries.”

Bhagowtee said: “It really hurts me to see the kind of destructive decisions being made by my company.” He further complained that “all the hard work and sweat put into this company by thousands of employees” has amounted to nothing.

In another ad, carried in another newspaper, temporary employee Crystal Bernard was quoted as saying she felt betrayed.

“A mother's duty is always to her children and now the way I provide for them is being taken away..... I really believed that I had a future with this company.”

Referring to the high unemployment rate, Bernard asked: “How are we going to survive?”

OWTU education and research officer Ozzie Warwick yesterday confirmed the ads but could not say how long they are likely to run.

Yesterday, separate advertisements were published announcing the launch of two new companies–the Paria Fuel Trading Company and the Heritage Petroleum Company Limited– paving the way for full operations by December 1.

The launch of the two firms came two days after Justice of Appeal Charmaine Pemberton granted a stay of an Industrial Court injunction against Petrotrin which prevented it from terminating employees and issuing voluntary separation letters. Head of Petrotrin's transition team Lisa Ali said on Friday that advertisements for positions in the new companies are expected to begin today.

Warwick said Petrotrin's board has acted prematurely in this regard.

“We have been saying from the get-go that what we have is a rogue board, one that has no respect for the laws and legal process in TT,” he said, adding that the substantive matter of the injunction is being heard on Thursday.

“Therefore, the board's decision is as though these things are not happening and that is contempt for the legal process, disregard for the rule of law and disrespect of the courts of TT.”

Warwick said it is “a real tragedy” for a state enterprise to act without regard for the legal process.

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Story by Corey Connelly from Trinidad & Tobago Newsday

newsday.co.tt 15 11 2018


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