More than 4,000 employees of Petrotrin are preparing to go on strike from January 4 for three months.
The strike can only be averted if Petrotrin moves from its 0-0-0 position with the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU). One more meeting is carded, and if nothing happens, then the workers will go on strike from January 4.
OWTU’s president general Ancel Roget sounded the warning on Friday morning at a news conference.
Roget said 89 per cent of some 5000 workers will be striking.
He said: “When we serve that strike notice, everybody will take notice.”
On Thursday, Petrotrin once again held negotiating sessions with the union that lasted more than 12 hours. Roget said the meeting meant nothing and Petrotrin offered the company no more than zero percent increase.
Roget thought the Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert, would have sent a proposal which could have been reasonable to the union through the Petrotrin officials but there was no such thing.
Saying that the Peoples National Movement (PNM) was treating the OWTU with the same disdain as the former People’s Partnership administration, Roget said : “It is the politics that dealt us this unfair blow.”
Roget must remember that prior to the 2015 general elections, he and other members of the trade union movement signed a Memoradum of Understanding with the PNM, hoping that if the PNM won the elections, labour relations would be better. Remember the smiles on the faces of the trade unionists and Dr Keith Rowley, then Opposition leader!!!
All of a sudden trade unions are gearing up for battle with the Government early in the new year.
Roget said the company still have between Friday and Tuesday to make a reasonable proposal to the union.
He added that when the strike begins, even if negotiations were settled it will still continue as workers are also calling for the removal of Petrotrin’s management who he repeatedly said was incompetent.
“At some point in time, we will be vindicated for taking this position. If we bake the pie, we deserve a fair share of the pie.” he said.
Roget added : “When that time comes we cannot guarantee a fuel supply. When you cannot get gasoline at the fuel stations, don’t blame us.”
The Government are already putting thing in place to bring in the Defence Force to transport gas to service stations.
OH HAPPY DAYS. SIGNING OF MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING, ANCEL ROGET AND DR KEITH ROWLEY.