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Chamber: No legal ground for Petrotrin protest
The T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce has welcomed the decision by the Industrial Court to order striking workers at state-owned oil company Petrotrin back to work. In a statement yesterday, the Chamber said the workers’ actions were in contravention of Section 63 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act (IRA) and underscored Petrotrin’s strategic importance to the nation’s upstream and downstream energy industry, the services sector, individual consumers and the economy.
“The strike action taken by the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU), and the workers that they represent, was determined illegal, and they should not have been allowed to hold the company and, by extension, the country to ransom.
“Having signed the collective agreement with Petrotrin in February of this year, the union has no legal ground on which to conduct strike action. We urge the OWTU to follow the proper grievance procedures as defined by the IRA, and to encourage its members to operate within the laws of the land,” the Chamber said.
The statement continued: “Going forward, we believe that a situation such as this cannot and must not be allowed to repeat itself, as unstable labour relations will continue to be a threat to our competitiveness and economic growth and development and ultimately impact negatively on our nation’s ability to attract Foreign Direct Investment.
“The use of alternative dispute resolution in resolving disputes is becoming more prevalent today. As such, the Chamber offers such dispute resolution services through our Mediation Board-certified Dispute Resolution Centre, and we recommend this as another option open to both parties.”
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