JTUM to stage 3-day protest march

Friday, September 28, 2018 - 10:15

The Joint Trade Union Move­ment will match for three days in an at­tempt to con­vince Gov­ern­ment to change their minds on the clo­sure of the Petrotrin re­fin­ery.

The march, ti­tled 'Oil Joins Sug­ar: The Moth­er of all March­es,' will be­gin in Point-a-Pierre next Wednes­day, Oil­field Work­ers Trade Union Pres­i­dent Gen­er­al An­cel Ro­get said out­side the Min­istry of Fi­nance ear­li­er to­day.

"We are very con­cerned about what is go­ing to hap­pen to Trinidad and To­ba­go when the Gov­ern­ment clos­es down Petrotrin," said Ro­get, who said the march was so named due to the fate that be­fell Ca­roni 1975 Ltd, which was closed in 2003.

"The point we wish to make, the same PNM Gov­ern­ment would have dec­i­mat­ed the sug­ar in­dus­try. We saw what they did with Ca­roni and made a lot of promis­es to the Ca­roni work­ers. To­day, those work­ers are still all over the place, there are promis­es still un­ful­filled but more im­por­tant­ly, they dec­i­mat­ed an in­dus­try and they are about to dec­i­mate the oil in­dus­try."

He added: "We'd like to high­light that once again the Gov­ern­ment is about to close down a ma­jor rev­enue stream and put some 9,000 work­ers out of a bread and dec­i­mate the south­ern com­mu­ni­ty and ul­ti­mate­ly it's go­ing to af­fect the econ­o­my."

Pub­lic Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion and Na­tion­al Trade Union Cen­tre pres­i­dent Wat­son Duke pledged sol­i­dar­i­ty to cause.

"We can­not just stand by and whis­tle and en­gage in wish­ful think­ing, we have to do some­thing," Duke said.

"We need to say to the na­tion in this democ­ra­cy, that we ob­ject to what the Gov­ern­ment is do­ing and thus what we will be do­ing on Wednes­day, Thurs­day and Fri­day is a demon­stra­tion of our feel­ings of dis­con­tent."

The march will be­gin on Wednes­day at the Petrotrin round­about in Point-a-Pierre at 9 am and end at the Rien­zi Com­plex, Cou­va, at 4 pm, stay over at that venue, then re­sume on Thurs­day from Rien­zi Com­plex at 6 am. From there, they will head to the Aranguez Sa­van­nah, San Juan. On Fri­day, the fi­nal leg will con­tin­ue from Aranguez to the Bri­an Lara Prom­e­nade, Port-of-Spain.

Unions will ad­dress work­ers on each day of the march at the overnight venue. On Fri­day, the unions say, a mas­sive ral­ly will be held in Port-of-Spain.

Ro­get said the march has al­so at­tract­ed for­eign in­ter­est and he ex­pects in­ter­na­tion­al me­dia to cov­er the event.