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OWTU rumbles over Petrotrin again

Published: 
Sunday, July 15, 2018
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Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) members during a protest outside Petrotrin’s Point Fortin operations yesterday. Photo by:RISHI RAGOONATH

The Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) is accusing Petrotrin board of breaching their Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) from April to oversee the restructuring of the company over an 18-month period.

During a protest outside Petrotrin’s Point Fortin building yesterday morning, OWTU branch president at Trinmar, Ernesto Kesar, called on the Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Petrotrin chairman Wilfred Espinet to stop protecting the “deep pockets” and prosecute those who stole monies from Petrotrin.

He recalled that Petrotrin executives and OWTU president general Ancel Roget signed an MOA on April 3 to restructure the company. Kesar said they had agreed to meet on a monthly basis.

“Since this MOA has been signed we have not met with Espinet or any members of the board or management team to effectively implement the tenets of this memorandum. If that is not deception and disingenuous behaviour I don’t know what is. You gave a commitment Mr Espinet, you gave a commitment Mr Riley (advisor to Petrotrin Board)...,” he complained.

In the MOA, the union proposed that Petrotrin is divided into four entities, Land: North and East (LNE), Trinmar Offshore Operations, Exploration and Production and the Augustus Long Hospital. They also agreed to establish a working committee comprising representatives of both parties to “address, resolve and agree on the four organisational structures, work processes and skills/competencies and manpower requirements which will make the company internationally competitive, thus ensuring its survival, sustainability and profitability.

“We are calling on you all today to get back to the table and sit with the recognised majority union and help us reorganise and fix Petrotrin in the interest of all of Trinidad and Tobago,” Kesar said.

Based on an annual report, he said it has been estimated that Petrotrin would have contributed $16 billion to the economy between 2011 to 2017.

“When top-class politicians go on the media every day and they say to the public that Petrotrin owes the Government for so much of years money I am saying that is not true,” he added.

Kesar also claimed three senior officials were allowed to “bump up” their salaries before they retired and were now getting pensions equivalent to the salary they would have had previously when a pension is supposed to be two-thirds of your salary.

“So these fellas are enjoying pensions of the Chief Justice and the Prime Minister, these are the kind of pensions. That in itself is bad but they did not remit their contributions to the pension plan so you took monies and you did not remit it and I am saying, Dr Rowley, Wilfred Espinet, Minister of Energy present and past you all owe the public the duty to ensure that these things are brought to justice,” he added.

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