Stork workers protest after learning VSEP will be taxed

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 - 07:45

Permanent senior staff employees of Stork Technical Services who went against the advice of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union and accepted Voluntary Separation Enhancement Packages (VSEP), have now found themselves in hot waters.  

The employees, who staged a protest outside of the company's headquarters in Point Lisas, are upset after the company informed them that their VSEP will be subjected to a 25 per cent tax from the Board of Inland Revenue.

Among those who broke ranks and took the offer was former shop steward of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union Learie Licorish. 

In an interview, Licorish said VSEP was offered to 50 permanent workers from the Scaffolding department at Point Lisas and Mayaro/Guayaguayare. 

However, he said the information was withheld from the Mayaro/Guayaguayare workers and after being presented with an enhanced package of VSEP, 20 of them agreed to accept the offer. 

"The workers at Point Lisas had more information than us and they did not accept VSEP," Licorish said.

Senior supervisor at the Scaffolding department Vivian Hutch said the decision to accept the offer was based on a promise of enhancement from the company. He said, "We were given an agreement that we will be paid a certain amount of money. (Name called) told us the package will not be taxed. Some of us got a 15 per cent enhancement and others got a 20 per cent enhancement. The agreement we made with Stork was that no tax will be paid on this money. We signed a document, we asked if the money will be taxed and they said anything under $300,000 will not be taxed. On the final day of agreement when we were supposed to receive our cheque, they called and said the cheque is at the Board of Inland Revenue and they will be taking a 25 per cent tax," Hutch said.

Saying the taxation was unfair, Hutch called for a reopening of the negotiation for VSEP.

 - by Radhica De Silva