WHILE saying he does not trust Petrotrin chairman Wilfred Espinet, OWTU president general Ancel Roget says the union wants to see the continued survival of the company and is committed to working with its Board of Directors.
Addressing a large contingent of workers at the Pointe-a-Pierre roundabout yesterday, Roget said the Board has agreed to split the company into four operational areas: Refining and marketing; Land; Trinmar Operations and the Augustus Long Hospital. He said the Board was expected to have a proposal confirmed in writing to the union sometime yesterday.
“We said to Espinet two days ago, we don’t trust you. The experience we have with you at TCL (Trinidad Cement Ltd) we don’t trust you but for Petrotrin’s sake, we will work with you,” Roget said. The union’s proposal to split the company into four as opposed to two divisions was agreed to at a meeting on Wednesday.
He said the union is insisting that every single asset given to friends of the company’s management in the form of lease operators and farm-outs, must be returned to Petrotrin. “If is one thing we are resolving here this morning, is that we will fight like hell to make sure we get back all that is due to Petrotrin and the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.
He said the board was told they could either choose to hold discussions about the company’s restructuring in a civilised way or fight on the street. “Is either we talk in a civilised and rational way or we fight the blasted thing out in the streets, all over the country. Choose which one you want and we are prepared to walk out and abandon the process if they are not prepared to listen and respond properly to workers and the union,” Roget said.
Roget said the labour movement is still mobilising workers for a “day of resistance” as the country is experiencing unprecedented levels of crime, unemployment and high food prices.
“We are building to a point where we are going to shut this country down in the interest of the poor people, the oppressed, the unemployed, the underemployed, the marginalised, those who are without a voice in their interest against the interest of the one percent who feel it is their time to claim everything else in the country,” he said.