Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 23rd 2015 Contents A12
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"T&T will have no industrial peace if Petrotrin
embarks on job cuts."
This is the warning from president general of
the Oilfields Workers Trade Union Ancel Roget a
day after Petrotrin chairman Lindsay Gillette
announced the jobs of casual and temporary workers
were under review.
He said Petrotrin had 1,450 casual and temporary
workers based in land exploration and refinery
operations while Trinmar Ltd, which was merged
into Petrotrin in 2000, has 450 casual and tem-
porary staff. These 1,850 temporary and casual
employees represent 38 per cent of Petrotrin s
Despite that, Roget said, Petrotrin was critically
understaffed in technical and operational areas and
if workers were dismissed, the company could go
in a tailspin.
Noting a review of staffing levels was unjustified
in light of the decline in the price of oil from
US$107 to US$46, Roget said a job review analysis
was done in 2009 but the recommendations were
Saying the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM)
planned to meet to discuss the impending job loss,
"The JTUM is preparing a colossal fightback.
This government cannot be allowed to mismanage
the state resources and then send workers home.
If it is anybody to be sent home it should be the
management of Petrotrin, the board of directors
and the line minister."
Predicting the loss of valued technical and oper-
ational expertise, Roget warned that safety could
be compromised as casual and temporary workers
formed part of the backbone of the company.
"Once you have a shortage of technical and oper-
ational crews in the highly volatile areas, it will
compromise the safety of those workers who are
asked to work in short crews because of the levels
"Petrotrin s management is preparing to grind
the company to a halt and we will have none of
that," Roget said.
He added that for decades, casual workers have
been used to fill vacancies. Most of these workers
had between 25 to 35 years of experience.
He said during a recent job review exercise, the
OWTU and Petrotrin realised there were vacan-
cies in highly operational and technical areas.
"Most of those vacancies are being staffed now
by temporary and casual workers, so if they remove
temporary and casual workers they will curtail the
company s ability to meet daily operational needs,"
Calling for an end to political interference in
hiring practices which has created duplication of
job positions, Roget said:
"Top level persons who are incompetent are pre-
venting the company from going forward and they
are appointed solely on the basis of political loyalty."
He also warned that permanent workers would
be next in line to be sent home if Petrotrin reduced
its oil production levels by sending home casual
and temporary workers.
Last week Friday Petrotrin president Khalid Has-
sanali said no permanent worker would be placed
on the breadline because of falling oil prices.
Contacted yesterday, Hassanali said he was not
disputing Roget s claims that 38 per cent of
Petrotrin s workforce were temporary and casual
He said employees should understand that in
the current circumstances the best solution would
be to improve their levels of productivity.
During Tuesday s Public Accounts (Enterprises)
Committee, Gillette said the jobs of casual workers
were being reviewed as Petrotrin faced the global
oil crisis. He said the company s main focus is to
pay off its debts.
Roget on Petrotrin's plan to review jobs
peace in T&T
Mark Ramnath cuts up the head of a 430-pound grouper fish which was
caught in Cedros. The fish was being sold t $30 a pound in Barrackpore on
Wednesday. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
Contacted for comment yesterday, Labour
Minister Errol McLeod denied that there would
be job cuts.
In a text message he said: "The Government
has not countenanced any job cuts anywhere.
Indeed, in her statement to the nation on
January 8, the Prime Minister emphasised the
Government's commitment to placing people and
He did not respond to comments from Roget
that T&T would not have industrial stability if
jobs were cut.
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