Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 12th 2017 Contents JANUARY 12 • 2017 guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG5
Of wages and salaries
In the early years agriculture was the main
employer of labour, and while the economy
mushroomed from an agriculturally based
economy to an energy-based economy, the
capital intensive nature of the energy sec-
tor left the government and entrepreneurial
(particularly services) sectors to be the main
employers in the economy.
According to their statistics, "2.1 per cent
of the labour force are employed by the energy
sector, 2.6 per cent are employed by agricul-
ture, 6 per cent are employed by manufactur-
ing, 11.3 per cent by construction, 5.4 per cent
by finance and insurance, 11.5 per cent by retail
and 36.6 per cent by other services."
The Central Bank paper also found that wag-
es in the energy sector are generally five times
higher than other sectors in T&T.
"A closer examination of wages by sector
finds, not surprisingly, that the average wage
of someone in the petroleum sector in 2009
was almost five times larger than the average
wage of persons in the other sectors."
The wages in the different sub sectors of the
energy sector also vary.
According to information from the website of
the Energy Chamber of T&T, the base monthly
salary for a labourer in Petrotrin is less that
$15,000 compared to just over $5,000 for the
energy service companies' workers.
A truck driver in Petrotrin earns over $15,000
a month, while for a truck driver in the energy
services sector it it less than $10,000.
A fabricator in Petrotrin salary averages
at $20,000 monthly compared to just over
$10,000 for those who work for the energy
A senior Petrotrin engineer earns a monthly
salary for the very least of $40,000, while a
senior engineer at an energy services company
earns just over $30,000.
The Energy Chamber stated:
"The base wage rates for labourers,
craft-workers, tradesmen, technicians, su-
pervisory and clerical level staff at Petrotrin
are significantly higher than the average rates
within the industry. In many cases, they are
more than double the market rates.
"At professional and management levels the
base wage rates are closer to similar jobs in the
rest of the industry and, in the case of some
more senior roles, lower than industry averages
(though Petrotrin staff also tend to have gen-
erous benefit packages that can significantly
increase their total compensation package)."
Dr Roger Hosein, University of the West In-
dies (UWI) economist, adding to the debate
argued that the country needs to be talking
about more productivity and not only wage
"As the State received massive amounts of
energy rents, it set about to increase govern-
ment expenditure on transfers and subsidies
and the whole domestic service sector on ac-
count of the rise in domestic demand expanded
as reflected in its employment share rising from
78.2 percent in 1999 to 86.1 percent by 2011.
"As the economy entered into classic Dutch
Disease mode, the growth of wages started to
outstrip the growth of productivity. All of this
went unnoticed in the starry-eyed econom-
ic environment that an abundance of ener-
gy sector rents stimulated. However, as the
production of crude oil (2005) and natural gas
(2010) started to fall and their respective prices
headed southwards, the structural flaws of the
economy, became more visible."
He said by 2015, real output per worker in
the petroleum sector was approximately 20
percentage less than in 2011 (real output per
worker in the petroleum sector contracted,
2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015).
"The decline in the productivity of the pe-
troleum sector was not matched by militant
union behaviour nor were strikes staged to help
productivity increase. Indeed, for this Dutch
Diseased economy to move forward, one would
reasonably expect that wage increases resemble
productivity increases and the same enthusi-
asm shown by unions for higher nominal wag-
es, is also shown for higher output per worker
levels in the petroleum and others sectors of
Fitzroy Harewood, Petrotrin's CEO, on
Monday speaking at the media conference
with OWTU said that the future payments
of the retroactive payments would be tied to
increase production and productivity.
From Page 4
OWTU president general Ancel Roget and his team outside the Ministry of Labour
Tower C, International Waterfront Complex after meeting with the Minister of Labour
Jennifer Baptiste-Primus on Sunday. PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
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