Series of union protests coming …”DARK DAYS AHEAD”

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Now that the Petrotrin Board has rejected a proposal from the Oil­fields Work­ers’ Trade Union (Ow­tu) to save the refinery, civilians can expect a serious of national protests which can impact the citizens.

The trade unions plan a series of protests, the first of which will be a three-day march from Pointe-a-Pierre to Port-of-Spain starting next Wednesday.

According to informed sources, the protests can have an impact on motorists as there could disruptions at the gas pump. Sources further added that citizens have been advised to stock up on tin supplies and candles.

Whatever that means!!!!

Petrotrin and the OWTU met for a sec­ond time on Thurs­day but in an in­ter­nal state­ment on Friday, Petrotrin chair­man Wil­fred Es­pinet dis­missed the union’s plan to lease the re­fin­ery and keep it run­ning.

He added, “The board ad­vised the union that the pro­pos­al failed to ad­dress crit­i­cal is­sues re­gard­ing fi­nanc­ing and prof­itabil­i­ty and there was in­suf­fi­cient in­for­ma­tion to give us an un­der­stand­ing of how the plan would work.

“We, there­fore, de­cid­ed that it was not a vi­able op­tion.”

Es­pinet said the phased shut down of the com­pa­ny would thus con­tin­ue. “The board is open to any op­tion that would make the busi­ness self-sus­tain­able and prof­itable but time is not on our side and we are pro­ceed­ing with the one vi­able op­tion that is avail­able.”

A slide was shown to groups of work­ers de­tail­ing their dis­missal.

The work­ers were shown slides ti­tled “The Process—Ex­it No­ti­fi­ca­tion Let­ters” and “The Tran­si­tion Pe­ri­od—What will oc­cur?”

Ac­cord­ing to those slides, the com­pa­ny said on the Re­fin­ery and Mar­ket­ing di­vi­sion side there would be a “phased wind­ing down of re­fin­ery op­er­a­tions and an ac­com­pa­ny­ing in­crease in the im­por­ta­tion of re­fined fu­els.”

The slide al­so said that the dis­missed work­ers would not have to wait for their dis­missal let­ters be­fore ap­ply­ing for new po­si­tions in the re­struc­tured com­pa­ny.

The in­ter­im tran­si­tion pe­ri­od is ex­pect­ed to last for four months.

The Ex­plo­ration and Pro­duc­tion di­vi­sion is ex­pect­ed to un­der­go the same phased ap­proach.

The board said it will meet with the union again on Mon­day to dis­cuss sep­a­ra­tion pack­ages but it was con­tin­u­ing with the plan to shut down Petrotrin.

It al­so said the lease agree­ment that the union pre­sent­ed at Thurs­day’s meet­ing was dif­fer­ent from the one they pre­sent­ed dur­ing the first meet­ing last week Tues­day.

OW­TU pres­i­dent gen­er­al An­cel Ro­get said the two par­ties nev­er dis­cussed sep­a­ra­tion pack­ages at Thurs­day’s meet­ing and it was not on the cards for Mon­day’s meet­ing.

“I am not sur­prised by the lies from this board or from this Gov­ern­ment. We re­ject that as a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of what took place at the meet­ing yes­ter­day (Thurs­day),” Ro­get said.

Ro­get said he be­lieved the board was try­ing to un­der­mine the union’s cam­paign of re­sis­tance against the shut­down. He said the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the con­sor­tium in­ter­est­ed in a lease arrange­ment to save the re­fin­ery were ex­pect­ed to meet with the board on Mon­day.

The trade unions agreed to a mas­sive march from Petrotrin to Port-of-Spain over a pe­ri­od of three days, next week Wednes­day to Fri­day. The march will stop at Rienzi Complex on Wednesday night and at Aranquez Savannah on Thursday night before arriving at the Bri­an Lara Prom­e­nade on Friday.

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