Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union president general Ancel Roget is urging Petrotrin workers not to accept any termination packages from the company until an appeal of the matter is heard in the Appeal Court.
In an early morning text exchange with Guardian Media hours after Justice Appeal Charmaine Pemberton blocked the injunction awarded to the OWTU by the Industrial Court, Roget said he planned to advise the workers to not accept any package from the company "while the injunction appeal is being heard."
Pemberton blocked the injunction awarded by the Industrial Court around 11.32 last night and fixed the hearing to resume before a three-member panel of the Appeal Court for next Thursday (October 18).
Last Tuesday, the Industrial Court had granted an injunction to the OWTU prohibiting Petrotrin from moving ahead with the termination timetable before the court heard an industrial relations matter the union had raised against the ailing state oil company.
Petrotrin had already handed out close to 500 termination letters to workers last weekend ahead of the injunction but those were rendered void pending the outcome of the appeal yesterday.
After hearing arguments for close to seven hours from lawyers representing Petrotrin, the OWTU and the Office of the Attorney General, Pemberton eventually ruled in the company’s favour.
Hours after Tuesday’s ruling, Finance Minister Colm Imbert had told the nation that Government could not afford to continue to bail out the company, as to do so risked crippling the entire economy.
Petrotrin chairman Wilfred Espinet was also publicly critical of the Industrial Court's ruling and had to be cautioned by his lawyers against further comment as he bordered on contempt of court.
- by Renuka Singh