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PETROTRIN: FIGHT FOR JOB SECURITY by Tony Bedassie

posted 20 Jan 2017, 04:26 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 20 Jan 2017, 04:46 ]
Fitzroy Harewood, President of Petrotrin - man in the hot seat
According to a report carried in the Newsday of January 20th 2017, Petrotrin's President, Fitzroy

"What should have been put on the table was job cuts. This is what is happening in the energy sector everywhere in the world. BpTT has already done that, as have other energy sector companies here."

Mariano Browne was Manning's Minister in the Ministry of Finance when the decisions to embark on the failed GTL and the mismanaged Gas Optimisation and the Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel (USLD) projects were embarked upon. These projects put Petrotrin into debt to the tune of $13.2 billion.
Harewood, has signalled the need for restructuring of this state enterprise. Among other problems, he cited rising operating costs and lower world oil prices together with declining production of indigenous crude as having had a negative impact on the company. He has also asked that workers increase production in order to save the company. Mariano Browne in the Express of January 17th 2017 also highlighted the problems facing the company and spoke of the need for change within the enterprise.

The word restructuring is being bandied about in all quarters and what comes to mind immediately is job cuts. Something which the labour movement will resist with all it's might. Indeed, the OWTU has already shown its willingness to stand up for temporary workers at T&TEC who received letters of termination last week.

As workers we cannot simply bury our heads in the sand and pretend that everything is alright. We recently celebrated the victory of a 5% wage increase. One must wonder, though, at what cost. Historically Petrotrin has been the victim of poor management decisions and political interference.

Indeed the enterprise now resembles another well known failed company. Caroni Ltd. becoming a part of government's social wage package rather than a net earner of revenues. Fingers are pointed back and forth daily. Yet doing so in no way has had any positive net effect on the position we find ourselves in.

At Trinmar, our liabilities continue to increase. The age of our infrastructure and our numerous oil spills which are partly as a result of this, must be of concern to all. Remember, we had another one just two days ago.

Increasing production of indigenous crude is entirely possible. Yet we as workers can only do so much. The mere fact that we have been able to maintain our levels of production from this old field is testament to our ability and performance. Yet today, we have production capacity sitting idle at South West Soldado, while we hear that realising this production is being put on hold simply to facilitate the introduction of private entities and capital within this area.

The union has a huge fight on its hands. They must step up the game in order to force the company into doing everything in its power to bring this field up to full production capacity in as short a time as possible; thereby strengthening our ability to lay counter arguments when the time of restructuring comes.

The pressure to clean up the company is coming from all quarters. It will not be ignored. We must also take notice.
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