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Sunday 16 June 2019
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OWTU: We not takin’ dat

THE Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) intends to fight to the bitter end, the proposal to send home, according to the union, 2500 Petrotrin employees in a restructuring exercise revealed by the company yesterday morning.

OWTU president general Ancel Roget also signalled a massive political fall out with the People’s National Movement (PNM). He accused the Prime Minister of being “shameful” and “disgraceful”, for not having the decency to share the board’s proposal when he met with the union last week Tuesday.

He said Rowley knew then what the board had proposed, but opted for the board itself to make the announcement yesterday. He said what is even more disrespectful, is that even though the company has scheduled meetings with the union to further discuss the proposal and the union’s counter proposal, the company is prepared to continue with the exercise.

“They are taking us for fools. They are taking the easy way out to destruction, the easy way out to put money in the pockets of their friends,” Roget said as he broke the news to his Petrotrin comrades, who gathered at Beaumont Hill, Pointe-a-Pierre in large numbers..

The announcement was met with sad, long faces, but ever defiant in their struggle, the workers gave Roget the endorsement as he pledged to reject the proposal and fight to the bitter end for their jobs and to fire Dr Rowley and his government.

He said the decision, announced on the eve of the 56th anniversary of Independence, to send home “2500 permanent workers” employed with Petrotrin – which has been the life blood of this country, was not nice.

He said the PNM is taking the country back to the pre-Independence days when TT had to depend on foreigners for the viability of the economy. “That is a signal that is being sent – back to the plantation, back to slavery, back to the producers of raw material.” Roget said the company plans to exit all 3500 workers, which will effectively shut down the company, and then rehire 1000, some 800 in exploration and production and 200 in refining and marketing.

“There is absolutely no way in the world that we will remain quiet and you have a comfortable People’s National Movement government in place that can send home 2500 workers,” to which the blue-shirt army roared in unison, “No way, no way, no way.”

Roget cautioned that this move, “Has already marked the end of Dr Rowley, if in fact the end of the PNM.”

“I don’t know anyone who is in this crowd, who believe that after hearing this, that you are all supportive of that party that does this great injustice.”

He called on workers to blank all PNM activities, including the PNM cooler fete tomorrow to celebrating its sod-turning ceremony for a new party headquarters.

Roget said if the board’s plan should succeed, it would affect not only the oil workers, but the entire country. Already he is predicting an increase in the price of fuel.

“The public have to brace themselves, on the basis of this proposal, for extreme hardship at the pumps and throughout TT,” Roget told members of the media.

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