Caroni Central MP, Dr Bhoe Tewarie believes Petrotrin workers are feeling dejected and this is why most of them failed to join the trade union movement in its three-day march from Pointe-a-Pierre to Port-of-Spain.
Even though over 4,700 workers are set to lose their jobs by November, only a few hundred people turned up for the Trade union's "monster march" in Central Trinidad on Thursday.
Speaking to the Guardian at a post-budget forum held at the Couva/ Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce seminar yesterday,
The Government is attempting to intervene in the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU)'s application for an injunction stopping Petrotrin from starting the process of terminating workers.
Lawyers for the State indicated their intention as the application came up for hearing before a five member panel of the Industrial Court, at the court's headquarters in Port-of-Spain, this morning.
“Get ready to rumble”
This was the signal by Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) president general Ancel Roget as he led hundreds of Petrotrin workers on a historic “Mother of All Marches” to save the jobs of 4800 oil workers.
The march started just 30 minutes before the OWTU, led by their attorney Douglas Mendes S.C, was expected to present their case to the Industrial Court to halt Petrotrin’s retrenchment exercise.
The Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) has filed an injunction in the Industrial Court to stop Petrotrin from dismissing all its workers.
The application was filed by the OWTU's attorneys this morning.
The matter comes up for hearing tomorrow at 10 am.
The matter coincides with a march that the union will begin tomorrow, from San Fernando to Port-of-Spain, to demonstrate against the decision to close the refinery and send home workers.
The company has said that all workers will be sent home on November 30th.
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.
Seamen and Waterfront Workers’ Trade Union (SWWTU) president Michael Annisette has proposed that Government send home 675 of the Port of Port-of-Spain’s 1,500 workers to save the state enterprise from going belly up.
The workers to face the axe will be from across the board, Annisette said, as he called on Government and the Port Authority of T&T (PATT) board to meet immediately with the union to come up with a retrenchment exercise and payment plan for the affected workers.
The big picture: a total of 4,700 permanent and non-permanent Petrotrin workers will be affected by the refinery’s closure looming ahead.
Energy Minister Franklin yesterday told Parliament that 3,500 permanent workers plus 1,200 non-permanent workers will be affected by the Government’s planned closure of the refinery in two weeks.
Khan gave the overall total in response to questions by UNC MP Rudy Indarsingh. Khan’s figures are the latest total tally of workers to be affected by the plan.
Petrotrin says it will keep the lines of communication open with the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) following a meeting between the two parties today.
A statement by the company says that officials met today with members union to discuss the implementation plan to exit the refining business and the creation of new E&P and Terminal businesses.
It says that today’s meeting followed the Petrotrin’s Board of Directors meeting with the union on 2018 August 28.
The Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) has delivered a letter to the Office of the President, outlining its position with regard to the decision to close the Petrotrin refinery.
President Paula-Mae Weekes is currently out of the country and Senate President Christine Kangaloo is acting as President of the Republic.
The OWTU leader, Ancel Roget is calling for an inquiry and public debate into the decision.