AS a last ditch effort to save Petrotrin and the jobs of all workers, president general of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) Ancel Roget has written to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, asking him to urgently consider their proposal to save the refinery.
The union has proposed an alternative option aimed at keeping the refinery in operation and place Petrotrin on the road to viability and success.
OWTU said it stands ready to begin deep and meaningful engagement with the government on the proposal, which is in the best interest of the country.
In the latest appeal, Roget again pointed out to the PM the adverse impact the closure of the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery and the decision to put all workers on the breadline will have on the lives of these men and women and their families. Petrotrin's chairman Wilfred Espinet said all workers are to be retrenched. Roget said this will bring about major social dislocation to the people who reside in the southern districts.
“We respectfully maintain that the shutting down of our country’s only refinery will seriously threaten our country’s energy security and ultimately adversely impact the economy,” Roget said.
He underscored that the union’s proposal addresses all areas of concerns raised by the government, as it relates to, among others, adequate crude supply, oil production, productivity, the debt, inefficiencies and asset integrity.
With a totally restructured Petrotrin with its new mandate, Roget said the union’s proposal would not require any government guarantee or funding and would certainly positively impact the country’s credit rating.
In seeking his consideration, Roget reminded Rowley of his offer to give the union preference to own and operate the refinery. It was in his address to the nation on September 2, Rowley made the categoric statement. “The refining assets of Petrotrin can now be put in a separate company for opportunity attention. The OWTU will be given the first option to own and operate it on the most favourable terms.”
Roget said although the government has denied that the refinery has not been sold, “given the dire consequences for Petrotrin workers, the citizens and the country as a whole, we believe that an arrangement can be achieved to maintain the refining operations whilst still maintaining our principle position of the country’s ownership of the assets.”