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Sunday 23 September 2018
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Chamber calls for level-headedness on Petrotrin

File Photo: Dark clouds hang over the Petrotrin refinery at Pointe-a-Pierre on August 28, the day the board announced its closure affecting thousands of workers. PHOTO BY ANIL RAMPERSAD

THE TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce wants the Government and labour movement to adopt “a level-headed approach” for a successful way forward following “escalating tensions” after the announcement of closure of Petrotrin’s Pointe-a-Pierre refinery.

The country’s biggest business group said in a release that calls by Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union president general Ancel Roget for all workers to stay away from work on Friday were a “retrograde step that may simply serve to undermine the economy, and ultimately harm the very persons it is intended to help.” The labour movement’s nationwide day of rest and reflection could intensify already trying times, the chamber said.

“At a time when our country is grappling with challenging economic conditions, such rhetoric inciting citizens to mobilise can only be described as irresponsible,” the group said. It’s also against the Industrial Relations Act, it added.

“Instead of calls for disruptive activity, the chamber believes there needs to be a commitment to do whatever it takes to restore our national competitiveness and growth,” it said. The Petrotrin situation has been known for years, the chamber said, and the country is now at a crossroads where it cannot sustain the massive debt nor the ongoing losses of the refinery.

“We need to place greater emphasis on where we need to be for a sustainable economy. The chamber subscribes fully to the ideals of constructive dialogue as established through the National Tripartite Advisory Council. Anything less, would be counterproductive to securing a better future for all of us who live and work in TT,” the chamber said.

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