|Strike Is On |
CAROL MATROO Monday, January 9 2017
This was the announcement made by president of the Oilfields’ Workers Trade Union (OWTU), Ancil Roget, as he came out of the Industrial Court yesterday where the matter of wage raise for Petrotrin employees was heard.
Roget and other OWTU members and Petrotrin representatives met at the court after a meeting with Petrotrin’s management at the Labour Ministry earlier in the day. The court hearing was presided over by Industrial Court judge Albert Aberdeen.
Roget said the union would call off the strike only if they got a favourable response from Finance Minister Colm Imbert.
“The judge has strongly advised parties, particularly the company (Petrotrin), that it makes good sense to settle the first period, have the strike called off and then we can enter into conciliation and discussions on the current matter before the court, that is for 2011- 2014. He said the company should get that out of the way completely and, on the basis of that, the union should call the strike off and then we can continue discussions with respect to the period 2014-2017.
“We felt we could accept such an advice and bring full settlement to this issue, but we are also observing the posturing of the Minister of Finance who is refusing an offer that says the Government does not have to put out one cent in respect of a back pay that would incur as a result of a wage settlement and also refusing the attempt by the union to bring about greater levels of efficiency and productivity which would pay over time that increase.
Until we get some resolution on these issues the strike is on,” he said.
Roget said the strike that they were forced to enter in to would cost the Government and the company much more than what the settlement would be.
“When tomorrow comes and we did not have a settlement and we enter into strike arrangement, it is the Government that would be to blame because we have crunched our proposal, a most reasonable one, for which we are not getting a response. It seems that they are going down pell mell, without brakes and steering, that the last government went down,” he said..