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As Petrotrin workers protest Drivers warned: Brace for fuel shortages (with CNC3 video)
Operations at all Petrotrin installations came to a complete halt yesterday as angry workers walked off the job over what they said was the company’s failure to deliver on promised incentives. Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union’s (OWTU) Pointe-a-Pierre branch president Roger Stewart is warning drivers to brace for fuel shortages as the workers are prepared to continue protesting until their demands are met.
Yesterday the workers, waving OWTU flags, downed tools as they blocked the company’s Pointe-a-Pierre gates in protest,claiming management was not fulfilling the terms of the collective agreement they signed last February. Stewart, speaking with reporters at the protest, said workers were frustrated and decided to vent their frustration yesterday.
He explained that last year the company promised to fill vacancies, make temporary employees permanent, upgrade Petrotrin’s health plan and re-introduce its apprenticeship programme among other initiatives, including paying outstanding variable payments for 2009 and 2010. Stewart added: “The company has failed on all of those agreements. They have not implemented any. They have not paid the workers variable pay and therefore the workers would have gathered here to vent their frustration.
“Several departments have downed tools. The bond, where the loading of gasoline, diesel and all those petroleum fuels necessary for the gas stations,that area is down. He said similar industrial action was taken at Petrotrin’s Trinmar operations and at its Penal/Barrackpore, Forest Reserve, Point Fortin and Santa Flora facilities, as well as the Petrotrin port.
He said the workers had given a commitment that they were ready to keep up the protest until their issues were resolved. Stewart could not say how long the workers would be off the job. “However,” he said, “they understand the struggle in Petrotrin.” An emergency management meeting was held yesterday afternoon after the protest. Yesterday tank wagons lined the Southern Main Road near the Pointe-a-Pierre roundabout waiting to go in to fill up with fuel but workers blocked the entrances and no tank wagons were allowed in.
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