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posted 5 Jan 2017, 06:20 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 5 Jan 2017, 06:25 ]
Tony Bedassie is a Trinmar worker
The promised strike action come Monday is indeed cause for concern. The statements being made by the different parties also makes for interesting times. Roget's claims that workers are operating at 2011 salaries, being true, leads to other questions. How indeed are the people who generate the revenues for the government treated with such scant courtesy while other service providers for the state had their matters settled with increases up to 14%?

I suspect however that this predicament was brought on more due to open politics and the falling out of the PP/MSJ/OWTU during the 2010 - 2015 period.

The former Energy Minister in his comments concerning privatisation also gives an indication as to the root of that falling out. It was the intent of the previous regime to bring in their party financiers to take over South West Soldado, our most promising field.

Between 2010 - 2015 the company spent billions refurbishing and developing this field which had been shut down following the closure of Block Station 25, the facility which provided compression and production services for the area. The facility itself has been deemed unstable and unsafe. However, seismic surveys of the area revealed that the acreage closer to shore mirrored the area further out to sea from which we were producing. It was thought that the near shore area could see additional finds of crude which would have increased our production capabilities.

These surveys date back to the 90's but it was only between 2010 - 2015 that drilling was done. It is reported that oil was found in certain areas with one well free flowing at a rate of up to 900 barrels per day.

A decision was made to tender for a floating production and compression facility for the area. The company then contracted a foreign entity for the job, paying the entire cost of the facility up front as a mobilisation fee, something unheard of prior to this arrangement. The facility was never delivered and the matter went to the courts. If memory serves me well, the government won a judgement 
Image result for soldado fieldagainst that contractor.

Currently South West Soldado can easily add 4000 bpd of oil to our production; yet today, years after the refurbishment and development exercise for which we are still paying, not one flow line which would bring the oil into our tanks has been attached. I assume that is so simply because they have no intention of flowing it into our tanks but rather those of a contractor/ party financier.

Dr Rowley in making the statement that there needs to be some parity concerning the 2011 - 2014 period of negotiations which the previous government had settled with the other state sectors at up to 14% is a good indication that he understands the need to properly compensate us the workers. However that matter remains before the courts. Having admitted such, would it then not be prudent for the government to step in and have that matter settled? After all his finance minister is stating that he cannot quantify an increase for 2014 - 2017 without knowing what 2011 - 2014 would reflect in terms of additional costs to the wage bill of Petrotrin.

The item carried in the news concerning the rates of pay of certain employees is erroneous and indeed being used to turn public sympathy away from the workers plight. A cleaner is quoted in the news as earning $64.14 is a contract employee. Said worker does not work a full eight hours per day but rather six. At Trinmar these people are sent offshore and remain up to ten plus hours and yet are paid for six. While this goes on, Contract workers who provide Marine transportation, i.e. boat captains and so on are paid an average of $40.00 per hour. Why didn't CNC3 tell the whole story? Why has the news station opted to reveal and indeed expose workers to the dangers of society by revealing salaries on national television - irresponsible in my view -especially given the current crime situation?

The opposition leader in making a statement that the government should have been proactive and have talks with the union in order to prevent the situation from reaching to this level has no moral authority to speak on the issue. Since the problems the current Administration is facing was inherited from hers.

The entire scenario is one of deep concern for all. Yet there remain so many sides of this issue which the public is not aware of. I hope that this clears up some of those.