Some 48 former oil and gas workers who were retrenched from their company following the closure of Petrotrin are set to receive their severance owed to them, amounting to millions. But they will only get their money once their former employer is paid what it is owed by Petrotrin.
This comes after the 48, all of whom were employed with Inland and Offshore Contractors Ltd (IOCL), based at the Otaheite industrial park, each filed claims in the High Court seeking their severance payments from their former employer.
The workers were represented by attorneys Gerald Ramdeen and Dayadai Harripaul and applied for summary judgment in their matter which was docketed to Justice Joan Charles.
Charles granted judgment for two of the workers Robert Bernard and Dale Bhola after the company admitted that it owed him his severance.
Charles ordered IOCL to pay to Bernard $135,075.25 as well as costs and she ordered the company to pay Bhola $141,083.03, plus interest and costs.
In its defence, IOCL said the unfortunate circumstance of the workers’ retrenchment on March 15, was as a direct result of Petrotrin’s decision to terminate its contract with it “without any consultation or prior notice.”
IOCL said the termination of contract with Petrotrin was part of the latter’s complete re-organisation of its business and which had nothing to do with IOCL’s performance.
The company said at the termination of the contract, Petrotrin owed and still owed it substantial sums for past work done and services rendered under the contract.
“Because of the non-payment of such monies due and owing by Petrotrin, the defendant was and still is unable to pay to the claimant the amount of severance pay and vacation leave initially due and owing. During the month of August 2019, the defendant received a small part payment from Petrotrin and immediately thereafter made a part payment to the claimant,” the defence said.
IOCL said it intends to complete the payment of all monies due as soon as it received sufficient further payments from Petrotrin.
After the closure of Petrotrin, IOCL retrenched more than 100 of its workers. Bernard was a captain with IOCL and worked with the company for more than 16 years. In February, after he and the others filed their separate claims for payment, they were told that they will receive it within one month from the date of retrenchment.