You are here
Petrotrin president on workers’ strike: ‘Time to change the rules’
As intransigent Petrotrin workers continue a strike that has crippled the company’s oil production, bringing it down from 160,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) to zero bopd, Petrotrin president Khalid Hassanali has said the time has come “to change the rules of the game.” He said the company will be returning to the industrial court today (Friday, March 22), not for conciliation, but seeking that the consequences of an “industrial relations offence” be brought on.
He said: “When we return to the industrial court, we return there merely for directions at that point. I’ve heard it said that we’re returning for conciliation tomorrow (Friday). That is not so. What we’re returning for is a summons for directions in respect of what we’ve done Monday, which is (that) we filed for an industrial relations offence, and what the consequences of that are, and also as a result of the injunction being in place.”
Speaking at an event of the Energy Chamber of T&T at Cara Suites in Claxton Bay, a stone’s throw away from the Petrotrin refinery, a tough-talking Hassanali told reporters he met with Petrotrin’s legal team just prior to attending the event to chart the way forward. He said the Petrotrin board also met at Cara Suites on Wednesday.
“When we act as custodians of our assets - and you’ve seen some of the activity and some of the assets that we have all over the country - we have to act in a manner that takes into account the interests of all those stakeholders, be they the banks, be they our employees, by they the state and the like, but this year, we were at the peak of our performance: 160,000 barrels per day on (the) Friday morning (before the strike).” He said that peak came “after a period when we were doing a major turnaround.”
He said, “When all these things happen twice within 12 months - because this (a strike) happened last year as well - then we really have to take charge of things. The model changes and the model has changed.” Asked for his opinion on how Petrotrin is handling the strike, Gregory McGuire, a senior manager of the National Gas Company (NGC), who was also attending the chamber event, said: “The laws provide for avenues for settlement of these things, so it doesn’t make sense dragging on something when the law could sort it out.”
Moving the vote of thanks Energy Chamber president Roger Packer thanked Hassanali for addressing the event impromptu, at the request of Energy Chamber chief executive officer Dax Driver. Packer said: “When Petrotrin gets ill, all of us get ill because it is such a big part of us in south Trinidad.
“I’d just like to say that I welcome his (Hassanali’s) remarks. We’ve been very concerned over the last week, and let’s hope we can gain back that lost oil production, get the refinery back up and running on its feet as soon as possible. And then with the implementation of this very aggressive ($2.5 billion) capital expenditure plan that Petrotrin has, let’s really hope that we can see the production starting to increase, and we really have a lot better industrial relations, so that in Trinidad, it will redound to the benefit of all of us.”
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.