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Sunday, January 8, 2017

All the criticisms of the decision of the OWTU to take strike action against Petrotrin seek to focus on the cost to the company if it accepts the union’s proposal. No attempt has been made to examine the cost to Petrotrin, and the country, if a strike is actually embarked upon.

The cost to the company is projected to be at the outside approximately $165 million in recurrent personnel expenses and $400 million in arrears, a one-off expense. These sums would be easily and quickly recoverable by the company once it returns to normal operations.

The losses to the company, and the country, for a ninety day strike, based on reports in the media of the company’s revenue, if the figures are reliable, would be in the region of $4 billion, none of which would be recoverable now or in the future.

Now, which one makes sense—give the workers a salary increase costing less than 10 per cent of the losses accruing from a strike or maintain a hard line as advocated by persons who have never struggled for anything in their lives and really place the company’s viability at risk.

People who are insisting that the workers should not be getting a salary increase have little understanding of what struggle is about and thus will not accept that sometimes people have to stand up for what they believe in, even at great cost to themselves.

Karan Mahabirsingh