Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) leader Ancel Roget has expressed confidence that the Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) will be successful in its bid to take over the refinery assets of defunct oil company Petrotrin.
Roget, who is also OWTU president general, said while there is a non-disclosure agreement which binds the union to confidentiality, the union has satisfied all the relevant requirements including international financing, an international management team and international auditors to oversee the purchase.
“We, the OWTU, are confident that we would have satisfied all of the requirements, international financing, international management team, international auditors to ensure that we acquire those assets.
“Remember an offer was made. It has been accepted. I can assure you, in not too long from now, we will be putting out a statement relevant to that situation.
“But the OWTU has stepped up to the plate and we have done all the necessary, satisfied all of those requirements, and we are confident that having done that, the only thing that will prevent us from getting that is – nothing.”
He said there are several outstanding issues regarding Petrotrin, including negotiations and the improper application of severance pay. Most of those issues, he said, are either “before the court or on its way to the court.”
He was speaking with reporters before JTUM ‘s biennial conference at the OWTU’s Paramount Building headquarters, Circular Road, San Fernando yesterday.
Asked about the perceived inaction of the unions while the retrenchment of workers seems to be occurring on a daily basis, he said the umbrella trade union organisation had developed a “work programme” to address the issue.
“Everybody saying they not hearing anything. Then when we put out plans, they are hearing too much. I guess it is a situation where you just can’t please everybody, you just have to stay on target, stay on focus.
“We are proactively going to put a work programme in place and we going to execute that work programme in ways that perhaps people may or may not like. But rest assured, our consistency is what will take us through.”
He said there are several social ills plaguing society, including runaway crime, the industrial relations climate and the attack on institutions.
“There is an attack on our industrial court by an elitist group in this country who would have committed hundreds of millions of dollars to challenge any decision of the court, and this is our reality. They take advantage of workers’ situation, and violate industrial relations. They want to control the court in their own image and likeness.”
Asked about the perception that government has taken political control of the OWTU, he said there is also a perception that the media are “controlled by the elites” with an anti-union agenda.
“There is a perception that when you write all these nice stories there are particular editors who will edit out all of the relevant parts of the workers’ cause. Then what you have is union-bashing, and it will generate that perception question.”