Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 7th 2017 Contents A4 news
guardian.co.tt Saturday, January 7, 2017
If strike goes into effect
Acting Energy Minister Colm Imbert yesterday
gave the assurance that State-owned Petrotrin
has all contingency in place should its workers
go on strike on Monday.
The question was posed in the House of Represent-
atives to Imbert by Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopees-
ingh who queried what contingency measures the oil
company had instituted to assure the population and
the aviation industry that they receive a steady supply
of fuel, should the OWTU embark on strike action.
Imbert has been acting for Franklin Khan, who will
undergo a major heart surgery tomorrow.
The T&T Guardian was told that Khan's operation
will be performed in Trinidad at a private hospital.
In response, Imbert said that Petrotrin was "cog-
nisant of the concerns raised by various sectors of
the national community with respect to the strike
notice served by the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union.
In this regard, the company has activated appropriate
and various contingency plans across its operations."
These plans, Imbert said have been developed in
collaboration with the Ministry of National Security
and Energy Ministry.
"The public is assured of a continuity of fuel sup-
ply," Imbert said.
Not satisfied with Imbert's answer, Gopeesingh
asked him to elaborate on the contingency measures
"What I would say, in discussions with the com-
pany, I am satisfied that appropriate arrangements
are in place to ensure a continuity of fuel supply to
Oropouche East MP Roodal Moonilal ask Imbert if
he was aware that critical units and installations at
Petrotrin were currently being shut down as a pre-
caution for the strike action.
Among those equipment, Moonilal said that were
no longer in operation were four vacuum distillation
units, the cat crackers, including other critical in-
"This would suggest a disruption in the service,"
Imbert again repeated that the State-owned oil and
gas company had appropriate arrangements in place.
Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee also called on Imbert
to explain why Petrotrin president Fitzroy Harewood
failed to attend a meeting with the OWTU and Labour
Minister Jennifer Baptiste Primus on Thursday.
"Again, I think this matter is being blown out of
proportion. Throughout the matters that are cur-
rently before the Industrial Court and the concili-
ation meetings held at the Ministry of Labour, the
negotiating teams were led by the vice president of
Human Resources of Petrotrin. I believe there may
have been a misunderstanding with respect to the
meeting in question," Imbert said.
Imbert said that Harewood at the request of Bap-
tiste-Primus did attend yesterday's meeting at the
Ministry of Labour and engaged in mediation talks
with the OWTU and Baptiste-Primus.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert, right, and Minister in
the Office of the Prime Minister and Attorney
General, Stuart Young at parliament yesterday.
PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
Colm Imbert says
Petrotrin will not be
able to pay any increase
- if awarded by the In-
dustrial Court - for the
period 2011 to 2014.
Imbert said that while
responding to a motion
of urgent, definite impor-
tance by Opposition MP
Rudranath Indarsingh in
the House of Represent-
The union has served
strike notice on the com-
pany and it is expected to
take effect on Monday.
The matter was before
the court for conciliation
yesterday. A ruling is ex-
pected on Sunday.
Imbert said the compa-
ny was not in any position
to pay any increase what-
soever. He said the Minis-
try of Finance will have to
foot the bill if an award for
any increase was granted
by the court.
He said at a meeting ear-
lier yesterday with officials
of the company he was told
that whatever settlement
was reached for an increase
to the workers "the Min-
istry of Finance will have
to foot the bill because the
company can't pay."
He said the company
lost $800 million in 2015
and $600 last year and it
owes the Government $1.2
billion in unpaid royalties
Imbert said the com-
pany promised to resume
quarterly payments of tax-
es and royalties.
Imbert, who is the act-
ing Energy Minister, said
Petrotrin requested the
support of the Finance
Minister for any award
that could be given to the
workers by the court.
He said the government
was looking at various
scenarios for the possible
resolution of the matter.
Imbert said the pos-
sibility of strike action
could have been prevent-
ed if the former People's
had settled the 2011 to 2014
Minister in the Office of
the Prime Minister and the
Attorney General, Stuart
Young said the 2015 to 2018
negotiations can only be
determined after the court
makes a determination on
the 2011 to 2014 period.
...if court rules in
favour of OWTU
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