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Thursday 19 September 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Stop playing politics with Petrotrin’s closure

THE EDITOR: Amidst all the "noise" and politics surrounding the closure of Petrotrin and the "thousands of displaced workers" I feel compelled to highlight a few facts:

• Based on a internal report generated by the HR department in 2016, it was projected thar some 60 per cent of the then workforce would have been retired by 2022,

• Following its closure, ALL emoployees 50 years and over would have been in receipt of pension payments. This is approximately 50 per cent of their last income,

• In some instances, some of these same "retrenched" workers have been re-hired in one of the new entities formed. In some instances with a higher salary than what was earned previously.

• For the most part, the majority (if not all) of the "retrenched" workers with over ten years service or those over 50 years are quite "happy" with their package.

Yes, there are some workers who would have been adversely impacted, but these would have been those employed as temporary, contract or people with less than ten years service. Some of whom have been fortunate to be emoloyed in one of the new entities. The Government is promising land for houses and agriculture, but Petrotrin had a housing plan that afforded thousands of permanent workers access to subsidised interest rate and a housing allowance.

My question is, which group of workers is being targeted to benefit from this initiative? While this may appear a "noble" gesture, what is the real intent? Wouldn't it require signifcant capital injection by coporation sole to bring this to fruition? Shouldnt' this money be better spent on sibsidising the "deficit" in the employee penson fund, which has come under further stress by the unanticipated mass exodus of workers due to the closure of the company?

The Minsiter of Energy has, on several occassions, said the Pension was "well funded" and they would compensate for any shortfall that might occur. Is he or the Cabinet willing to sign an agreement to that effect?

Thousands of ex-Petrotrin's workers' pensions are now in jeopadary. This is a fund to which all permanent employees would have contributed to with the assurance that they would be "taken care of " in their golden years.

We need the Government and Opposition to stop "politicising" this situation. Don't try to appease a few by putting at risk the livelihood of thousands. Do the right thing!

ex- Petrotrin worker

via e-mail

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