Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 15th 2017 Contents somewhere else. So you now have the basis
for comparing what was the cost per piece
and you can take that kind of information
and bring it back in country.
"Now we know what we need to do to
compete. You may not be able to get there
immediately but you may be able to build
a plan to get there over time."
According to Driver, the current legisla-
tive infrastructure creates a very adversarial
industrial relations environment, leading
to frequent protests and industrial unrest.
He argued that under the current legisla-
tion trade unions have a financial incentive
to pursue all disputes, however frivolous,
as the Industrial Court barely ever assigns
costs against trade unions bringing cases.
"The adversarial legislative set-up does
not encourage employees and employers to
seek their mutual best interests and work
together to build businesses and ensure sus-
tainable jobs in the long-term," Driver said.
He added that the reform of the IR Act is
long overdue and that the Joint Chambers
have made recommendations to the gov-
ernment on a new legislative framework.
Driver said, "We know that the govern-
ment has listened to our concerns and rec-
ommendations carefully and we hope that
the revised legislation, which we understand
is under consideration by Cabinet, will take
onboard our recommendations and create
a new less adversarial industrial relations
Labour Minister Jenifer Baptiste has
recently announced plans to make major
changes to the Industrial relations frame-
work in T&T.
Only last week, bpTT awarded the con-
tract for the engineering, procurement,
construction, installation and commis-
sioning (EPCIC) of the Angelin platform
to McDermott International Inc, a Hou-
In a statement, McDermott said its team
in Houston led the engineering and exe-
cution planning efforts with support and
work share from the company's engineering
centre in Chennai, India.
However, the 900 metric tonne four-leg-
ged main pile jacket and 1,200 metric tonne
four-deck topside for the Angelin project
will be constructed at the Altamira, Mexico
Asked why the fabrication of the jacket
and the topside were being done in Mexico,
given the comments by US President Donald
Trump about the export of American jobs
to Mexico, a spokesman for McDermott
"This project and the accompanying work
falls under our Americas, Europe and Africa
Area. Engineering and project management
will be performed by our teams in Houston
while the construction for the project will
be done at our Altamira Fabrication Yard
in Altamira, Mexico. We do not currently
have fabrication capabilities in the United
Questioned on the total estimated value
of the contract, the spokesman said: "This
contract fits into our 'large contract' cat-
egory, which is a contract between US$50
and US$$250 million."
BG8 | ENERGY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN guardian.co.tt JUNE 15 • 2017
'Trade unions abusing
stop-work OSHA provisions'
Even as bpTT's regional president Nor-
man Christie warned that for the com-
pany to resume building platforms at
La Brea it would have to be confident
there would not be unnecessary work
stoppages, comes a warning from the
CEO of the Energy Chamber that abuse of the Oc-
cupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act could result
in a repeat of the protests that contributed to bpTT
not building its Angelin platform in T&T.
Thackwray Driver told the Business Guardian that
trade unions have "unfortunately frequently misused
the 'stop work' provisions in the OSH legislation in
pursuit of wage negotiations or other disputes."
He noted that during the construction of the Juniper
topside, safety was identified as one of the reasons for
the workers walking off the job and that led to a delay
in the construction, which forced bpTT to send the
topside to be built outside the country even though
the fabrication yard had an unblemished safety record.
Driver said the use of the OSH Act to also stop work
on the rig that drilled the successful Savannah and
Macadamia wells---which are estimated to contain two
trillion cubic feet of natural gas---was another example
of how the industrial relations climate threatens the
operations of the energy sector and would factor in
bpTT's assessment of whether to built future plat-
"The recent High Court case concerning workers of
the Sugar Industry Labour Welfare Committee who
followed the advice of the PSA and used provisions
in the OSH Act to refuse to work is instructive.
"In keeping with the PSA's advice these workers
stayed away from work for a two-week period citing
safety concerns. When they subsequently took a High
Court case to try to recover wages which had been
withheld, the judge determined they had not followed
the very detailed provisions concerning the right to
refuse work under the OSH Act and had misused the
provisions of the legislation in keeping with a wider
PSA campaign over pay.
"The judge determined that the Sugar Industry
Labour Welfare Committee had acted in keeping
with the law and ordered the workers to pay their
legal costs. It is notable that in this High Court case
the individual workers now have to pay the lawyers'
fees and not the PSA."
Driver added that this is one case of many where
workers have acted on the advice of their trade un-
ions and misused the right to refuse work to further
a wage dispute.
"This misuse of the important OSH provisions un-
dermines safety and needs to be stopped." Driver said.
In an interview with the Business Guardian last
week, Christie said for his company to return to
building platforms in La Brea a number of key issues
must be dealt with including the competitiveness and
Christie did not directly identify the industrial
dispute that stalled the construction of the Juniper
platform, but was clear that that kind of action would
not attract bpTT to built its platform in the south
"We can't have a situation where you think you work
for this much time and then there is a long stoppage,
and then you work again. That is a consideration."
Christie added, "On the competitive front, one
thing we are much clearer on now is what it cost to
build it in another location. One of the reasons, as you
would recall, is when we built the Juniper platform,
the top sides were done here but the jacket was done
Energy Chamber CEO warns about future platform work
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