The T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce is urging all stakeholders to adopt a level-headed approach and work collaboratively for a successful way forward as tension in the trade union movement increases over the planned shutdown of the Petrotrin refinery.
In a media release yesterday, the T&T Chamber said it deems the national shutdown call by Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union president general Ancel Roget a “retrograde step” that may simply serve to undermine the economy and ultimately harm the very persons it is intended to help.
“The possible fallout could very well serve to intensify already trying times for all who share the burden - including the more vulnerable among us. At a time when our country is grappling with challenging economic conditions, such rhetoric inciting citizens to mobilise can only be described as irresponsible,” the chamber said.
The Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) plans a national day of rest and reflection on Friday in support of the OWTU’s cause in the Petrotrin restructuring matter. The union, in fact, delivered a letter to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday urging Government to rescind its decision and offering its own recommendations for the process going forward.
The chamber also said it is their understanding that such action is contrary to the Industrial Relations Act (IRA).
“Instead of calls for disruptive activity, the T&T Chamber is of the view that there needs to be a commitment to do whatever it takes to restore our national competitiveness and growth,” it said.
Added that the country has been aware of the situation with Petrotrin for several years, the chamber added, “We now stand at a crossroads where we can neither sustain the massive debt nor the ongoing losses of the refinery operations. It is a time for forward-looking approaches; the world is changing and we need to place greater emphasis on where we need to be for a sustainable economy. “The T&T Chamber subscribes fully to the ideals of constructive dialogue as established through the National Tripartite Advisory Council (NTAC). Anything less would be counter-productive to securing a better future for all of us who live and work in T&T.”