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posted 22 Oct 2013, 20:59 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 23 Oct 2013, 10:22 ]




The National Workers Union (NWU) is outraged at the vicious action of the management of state-owned National Petroleum Marketing Company in the mass dismissal of sixty eight workers who were on suspension. This massacre is the opening act in the move by the government to dismantle the fuel distribution company as it follows the IMF-supported privatisation programme. 
Eighty five workers were suspended in August for their refusal “to train new entrants in the system including employees of contractors and managerial personnel …” this according to NP’s full page Ad in the daily newspapers of Thursday 22nd August 2013. These workers are now being fired for refusing to perform duties outside of their job specification or description. 

The management of NP has made job descriptions and job duties void and of no effect and violated the Collective Agreement with the OWTU. The management has violated the agreement and visited the industrial relations equivalent of the death penalty (dismissal) on the workers when they resisted management’s violation of their collective agreement. 
National Petroleum has already instituted some measure of outsourcing and privatization in the areas of fuel transport, finance and retail. NP is getting rid of its gas stations that were operated by NP-hired managers and are handing them over to favoured dealers. The future of the lube oil plant which NP has operated since 1976 is up in the air. NP and the Panamanian firm International Trading Services Ltd. were due to complete a feasibility study in August on the establishment of a Lube Oil Blending Plant in Panama. 

With the coming into operation of the Caroni Liquid Fuels Pipeline Project, NP’s operations at Sea Lots are going to be reduced to almost nothing. The pipeline from Pointe-A-Pierre to Caroni, where gasoline, diesel and other products are manufactured will eliminate the need for transporting fuels by sea from Pointe-A-Pierre to Sea Lots. The tank wagon filling plant at Caroni is going to eliminate the gantry operations at Sea Lots and eliminate gantry jobs altogether, because the tank wagon drivers are going to be doing their own filling. 
Whatever non-marketing jobs remain will not even be carried out by NP workers. The Caroni Liquid Fuels Pipeline Project has absolutely no input from NP, yet it is going to rip the heart out of NP’s operations. The project is being executed by the National Gas Company (NGC) acting as the agent of the government of Trinidad and Tobago and its construction had no input from NP. The suspicion is that the Caroni plant will be operated under the government’s public private partnership and be handed over to favoured contractors of the PP government. 
The National Workers Union calls upon the management of NP to withdraw all the letters of dismissal. The NWU, further, calls upon the government to sit and discuss with the Oilfields Workers Trade Union what their vision for the fuel distribution sector entails. 
The National Workers Union insists that the reengineering of the fuel distribution industry must not involve large scale elimination of jobs in the sector so that contractors can feed off the value that the workers whose jobs are being eliminated have created. 

The National Workers Union calls upon the trade union movement to rally around the dismissed workers of NP and their union the Oilfields Workers Trade Union and to demand that the fuel distribution industry must not end up in the hands of parasitic contractors who have contributed nothing to the development of the sector. 

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Gerry Kangalee (National Education and Research Officer – Cell: 785-7637)
Gerry Kangalee,
22 Oct 2013, 21:18