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No resolution yet for TOFCO workers

Tuesday, January 19 2016

PROT E S T I N G workers at Trinidad Offshore Fabricators (TOFCO) are expected to return to the picket line today after a meeting with Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste- Primus failed to bring the industrial dispute to an end. The workers, who had engaged in daily demonstrations just outside the gates of TOFCO’s La Brea Industrial Estate facility since January 14, are protesting a number of health and safety concerns at the plant.

A number of La Brea residents have since joined the demonstrations to highlight the lack of employment opportunities by companies on the Estate.

The workers, who met with Baptiste-Primus, at her Port-of-Spain offices yesterday, described the meeting as “fruitful” and “enlightening” though were hesitant to say what promises were made to the workers by the Minister.

“The meeting was enlightening so we are optimitic,” worker representative, Clive Charles said in a telephone interview yesterday.

“Asked whether any promises had been made to the workers, Charles hesitated before saying, “not at the moment, but the meeting was fruitful.” He said the workers would continue their protest demonstration today.

Work is currently being done on bpTT’s Juniper project at TOFCO’s La Brea fabrication yard.

However, in a media statement on July 16, 2015, bpTT noted it had accepted a proposal from TOFCO to relocate fabrication of the Juniper platform’s jacket and piles from TOFCO’s yard in La Brea to a fabrication yard in Texas, USA.

Fabrication of the Juniper topsides would however continue at La Brea. And in a twopage newspaper advertisement yesterday, bpTT pointed out that the Juniper project had provided upwards of 400 jobs with up to 95 percent of the workforce being Trinidad and Tobago nationals.

The Juniper project is bpTT’s 14 offshore production facility, and first subsea project, and is expected to produce 590 million standard cubic feet of gas to meet the demands of local industry.

First gas expected from the Juniper project is expected in late 2017. Meanwhile, Charles said two La Brea residents and a worker had been injured in a vehicular accident when a visitor had attempted to drive into the TOFCO compound. However police reports state that a TOFCO worker and two La Brea residents were injured when they tried to block an expatriate who was leaving the compound.

Police say the three attempted to open the doors of the man’s vehicle and pull him out.

In his bid to escape the three persons were injured.

They were asked to seek medical attention, and bring their reports to the police.

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