EMPLOYEES of Yara Trinidad Ltd gathered at the Paramount building headquarters of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU), San Fernando, on Thursday evening to find out what is to become of them and the jobs they currently hold at the ammonia plant.
About 200 workers sat in the hall and were addressed by president general of the union Ancel Roget. Workers from all of the bargaining units represented by the union were summoned to attend the meeting to discuss possible retrenchment and severance packages.
It is the first time the workers were invited to meet with the Roget in an open forum to hear about ongoing negotiations and ask questions regarding the way forward since the company announced the pending closure last year.
Closed-door meetings have been taking place between management and the union. Prior to Thursday’s talks, another round of discussions were held between Roget and branch officers and the company’s management at Paramount.
Although decommissioning has begun at the ammonia plant at Point Lisas, workers are still on the job and reports indicate that they have not yet received letters of retrenchment.
Yara announced the closure of its wholly-owned ammonia plant at Point Lisas on November 13. It cited plant profitability and failed negotiations with The National Gas Company of Trinidad (NGC) as key reasons behind the closure. The plant was expected to be closed by year’s end.
The Yara Trinidad plant is one of three ammonia plants operated by Yara Trinidad Ltd.
The remaining two plants, Tringen I and Tringen II, are jointly owned by Yara International ASA and National Enterprises Ltd (NEL).
In an e-mailed response to questions from Newsday last week, Yara Trinidad Ltd president Richard De La Bastide said the plant was safely shutdown and secured as planned on December 31.
De La Bastide also said that talks with the OWTU regarding the separation arrangements for workers are in progress.