|Petrotrin workers back at work |
RICHARDSON DHALAI Wednesday, January 11 2017
A DAY day after strike action was averted at state-owned oil company Petrotrin, hundreds of workers led by Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) officials marched into the Pointe-a-Pierre oil refinery to officially resume duties at the company’s various departments including the Petroleum Bond and Marine department.
Leading the workers was OWTU labour relations officer Foster Carrington who under cool overcast conditions, briefly addressed the workers saying the tactics adopted by the union’s central executive was an almost ‘perfect’ strategy which had confounded the company’s management.
“It was the first time, in the history of the union, that the hourly, weekly and monthly paid bargaining unit were forced to go to the (Industrial) Court to have a negotiation resolved, so therefore the tactics of the executive of the union to include this current period to ensure we executed what we were supposed to execute, to deal with the period before, was almost perfect,” Carrington said.
After the workers sang several of the union’s battle songs including “Solidarity forever”, Carrington led them into the refinery’s compound.
OWTU President General Ancel Roget, who addressed workers on Monday night after accepting a five percent interim increase for the 2011-2014 period, revealed that Petrotrin’s strategy was to win public support by saying it could not afford to pay workers an increase. “The view was that if Petrotrin has to pay a rate increase to workers, the government has to borrow and the country will get a bad rating. But we have proven that all of that is not so,” Roget said.
However, he advised workers to remain “vigilant” saying they had to be prepared should the company renege on its promise to continue negotiations for the 2011- 2014 period on February 28. “If it becomes necessary for us to call you out at a moment’s notice, be prepared to respond. Because it is that type of response which will move mountains,” Roget said.
“Make sure you keep your eyes on the 28th of February,” he added.
Roget said the union’s focus is on the company’s future survival and this included the filling of vacancies at key areas of the company’s operations including operators and at the various craft departments.