|Prakash: Let workers become part-owners of Petrotrin |
CAROL MATROO Monday, January 9 2017
St Augustine Member of Parliament Prakash Ramadhar is recommending that workers of Petrotrin become part owners of the company. He urged the Oilfields’ Workers Trade Union (OWTU) to consider settling for less of a percentage increase in wages and accept shares in the company to become part owners of the industry.
He said this would enable employees to directly deal with the issues of corruption, waste and mismanagement.
Petrotrin employees have threatened to take strike action, expected to last 90 days, from today (Monday) after their demands for a pay increase was not met by Government.
Management at Petrotrin had said they were unable to meet their demands and said it was a 0-0-0 offer on the table.
The OWTU served strike notice to Petrotrin on Wednesday last where the company would have a four-day window in which to respond.
Ramadhar insisted that Petrotrin employees be adequately compensated for what he described as a job with “grave dangers and hardships.” “Any offer of 0-0-0 rightly must be met with indignation by all right thinking men and women. That offeris not without precedent and its signals reasonably that is made in bad faith,” he said.
Ramadhar said if future negotiations were not handled with openess and fairness, the consequences to Trinidad and Tobago would be devastating.
He said it was time that Government held an inquiry into the union and the workers’ claims and concerns.
“The time has come for us to deal with the truth and act on the basis of facts that are provable,” he said.
Ramadhar said any strike action by employees could lead to the shutdown af most facets of economic and social lfe.
“The consequences would be serious as a national ‘heart atttack’.
“Nothing moves,” he said.
Ramadhar said any desperate effort to settle at what could be afforded would be least equally distastrous as every other union and worker would expect the same, if not better.
“We must avoid rash and unsustainable decisions at this time. We must realise that any decision will have an impact on all of us,” Ramadhar said.
A release from Petrotrin is assuring the country’s motorists that there are contingency plans in place if any strike action took place.
It stated that there would be the deployment of its management, senior and otherv staff who were not represented by OWTU to continue its essental operations, and collaoboration with other agencies to insure security and safety of personnel, monitoring and maintenmance of infrastructure and plants, and supply of refined products to the local market.