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posted 16 Feb 2012, 10:14 by Gerry Kangalee



Despite the intervention of the Minister of Labour, Hon. Errol K. McLeod, the Company was still unwilling to move from its original 5% cap which was the main cause for the breakdown in the negotiations and the serving of the notice of legal strike action.

At Conciliation proceedings last evening the Union informed the Minister of Labour that we were prepared to significantly reduce our original proposal in order to reach a settlement. This is a position we have regularly communicated to the Company. The Company however refused to move from their 5% cap. At approximately 3:30 a.m. after extensive discussions with both parties, the Minister advised that parties relook their positions and to return Thursday 16 February at 6 p.m., with amended proposals with intentions to settle. The Union remains committed to a speedy and amicable resolution but we wish to state clearly that:-

· Our demand for a decent wage adjustment is on the basis of the Company’s ability to pay after declaring after tax profits over the period of the collective agreements, including approximately $2.2 billion at the end of last financial year; which profits could not have been generated without the input of workers.

  • · The government and Petrotrin are prepared to spend billions of dollars for the strike rather than millions to settle the negotiations. We note with great disappointment that this anti-worker approach is no different to the one taken by the PNM when workers took strike action in the past.
  • · The dispatching of soldiers is not a solution as soldiers can only distribute fuel but they cannot restart or operate plants at the refinery to produce refined products or operate complex installations both off-shore and on land to produce crude oil.
  • ·The statement by the Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs that the government intends to import fuel is recognition that the pending strike will have significant impact and therefore is another example of their dishonesty and lack of credibility.
  • ·As a result of the joint effort between OWTU, Ministry of Energy and the Company, Trinmar achieved an additional 4,000 barrels of crude oil per day. This is just another demonstration of the workers' ability to earn their keep.

Finally, we remain firm in our belief, which is shared by the workers, that both the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance are directly responsible for maintaining the 5% cap. This is absolutely contrary to the free collective bargaining process and therefore denies workers a just and fair settlement. We state this despite their claims to the contrary.

Ancel Roget

President General