PRESIDENT of the All Trinidad General Workers’ Trade Union (ATGWTU) Nirvan Maharaj met with the monthly and daily-paid workers of the now-defunct Petrotrin Pointe-a-Pierre Staff Club today at Tropical Plaza in Pointe-a-Pierre. The union received information that security ordered the monthly-paid workers to leave the compound yesterday. But the daily-paid workers were told to leave the compound by the manager of the club.
"You have not been terminated, but instead you have been locked out from your place of work by the company. According to the Industrial Relations Act, this is an industrial offence," Maharaj said.
Maharaj said his major concern is that workers get what is due to them.
“Our major goal is to ensure that workers get the monetary compensation they deserve,” he said. ATGWTU, he said, is pre-empting court proceedings at this time, simply because no one received a termination letter.
“Termination is coming, and no one can stop that. The ATGWTU must see to it that workers get their 45 days’ notice in their severance pay and their annual vacation leave pay that they are entitled to."
He urged workers to report for duty every day even though the doors remained locked.
"You report for work and you speak to the security and let them know you are there to report for duty. You may be denied access, but you will stay a while before leaving," Maharaj said. Doing this, he said, would show that workers had not abandoned their jobs.
The workers of the club, he said, have found themselves in limbo between Petrotrin and the management committee of the staff club.
“If in future the club re-opens and continue to operate as a club, then there is a case of false retrenchment against the club,” he told workers.
He said as a lawyer he could not demand that the club remained open so that they can continue to work.
The ATGWTU filed two industrial-relation offences complaints in the court yesterday evening. One was on the failure of the club to meet and treat with the union, and the other was the illegal industrial action committed by Petrotrin and by extension the staff club.
The club, he said, occupies a building owned by Petrotrin. He told workers that information coming to him is all the clubs in the Petrotrin compound will be shut down.
"I also heard through the grapevine that Petrotrin has indicated that they do not care about the clubs," Maharaj said. The board plans to absorb all the cost of repaying those who rented the club for weddings and other social events for 2019.
Workers were locked out of the club yesterday at 11 am.
A long-standing worker who wished to remain anonymous said the club had provided her with an income for the past 30 years.
“I was locked out of my workplace without any warning,”she said.
Workers said this action came at a time when many are paying loans.