The Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union is denying worker involvement in the sabotaging of Petrotrin assets following the shutdown of the company on Friday.
The union made the comment in response to a media release by Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Ltd (TPHL), the company taking over Petrotrin assets, which stated access to all its facilities was suspended following acts of sabotage by union members and employees. Petrotrin is now a legacy company but is a subsidiary of the newly formed TPHL.
In a statement yesterday, however, the union said it views the accusation by the TPHL management and by extension the Government as merely a distraction to take away from what their “rash, incompetent and unprepared decision” has brought to citizens.
The union urged the TPHL to thoroughly check their sources before casting “unwarranted and unjustifiable” blame to persons who were not involved in such incidents.
On Saturday, Heritage Petroleum Company Ltd, which has now acquired many of Petrotrin assets, said it was now working with the authorities to find the parties responsible for severing a 2.7-inch flow line in Grand Riviere, Rancho Quemado, on Friday. This resulted in approximately five barrels of oil being spilt. However, it was contained in an area of about 20 feet and there was no damage to the environment. The line was repaired and is now operational.
There were also deliberately set fires at several facilities in Santa Flora and the blocking of the company premises with mobile drilling rigs.
As a consequence, the TPHL announced it had suspended all access to its facilities by non-essential personnel following several incidents of vandalism, sabotage and obstruction by union members and other workers.
“The damage and destruction included the vandalising of mobile oilfield equipment, a fire tender, state property and privately owned vehicles. These measures are critical to ensure the safety and well-being of all legitimate personnel and to protect and preserve valuable State assets,” the release said.
“With immediate effect, only persons with valid identification, specific company passes and who are listed for access will be allowed into the company’s facilities. There will be no exceptions.”
The company said it also plans to use all legal means to ensure those responsible are prosecuted.
However, the union said the only action the workers took on Friday came after the Government failed to meet its promise to pay workers their full salary before closure of the plants and the retrenchment of all employees. The workers’ response, the union said, was to remain at the various compounds and peacefully demand payments and salaries they were duly owed.
- by Kevon Felmine