The OWTU is gearing up for battle as it believes Government is going behind their backs and preparing to sell of Petrotrin.
Colm Imbert’s revelation in Parliament on Monday that Petrotrin’s loss for 2016 was $4.5 billion, as opposed to the initially stated $600 million, may be a front for Government’s intention to privatize the State-owned company.
This is the view OWTU president general, Ancel Roget, who added it was also an excuse for the non-settlement of outstanding wage negotiations for workers.
In the Parliament on Monday, Imbert, the Minister of Finance, had said an undisclosed $4.2 billion in deferred tax asset was not shown in Petrotrin’s accounts and this could result in Petrotrin recording an audited loss of $4.5 billion in 2016 rather than the previously stated $600 million.
He said rather than declaring losses, Petrotrin has been carrying them as a deferred tax asset, to be written off against future profits.
In response, Roget said: “My reading of it is that the reason why he made those statements is that he is trying to lay the groundwork for privatization of Petrotrin, which the union is totally rejecting. He is laying the groundwork for that because if Petrotrin is allowed to be privatized, the profits will go into bank accounts of private interest and taxpayers will be denied the profits that will come from Petrotrin.”
Roget said while Imbert is talking about how much Petrotrin owes the Government, he needs to say how much money Government owes Petrotrin in unpaid subsidy. He said back in 2011, Petrotrin was owed an estimated $7 billion. He also called on Imbert to state at what time Government would have cleared its bill to Petrotrin.