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Petrotrin offshore workers left stranded
Scores of offshore workers remained stranded on offshore platforms up to late yesterday as Petrotrin workers engaged in a third day of protest action over outstanding payments. The T&T Guardian learnt that the offshore workers were expected to return home this week after completing their shifts on rigs located off the south- western peninsula.
However, due to the industrial action which included the marine section, the boats which transport the workers remained moored at mainland installations. “Right now the workers are just waiting to see what happens. Some are on jack-up barges, while others are still on the platforms,” a source said.
On Wednesday, workers downed tools, bringing to a halt operations at Petrotrin’s Trinmar division, its Penal/Barrackpore, Forest Reserve, Point Fortin and Santa Flora facilities, as well as the Petrotrin port and bond. And despite a warning by the company on Thursday that workers who stayed away from work would not be paid, workers still did not report for duty yesterday.
When contacted, Bunny Rambhajan of Petrotrin’s corporate communications department said the situation remained the same. She said the company’s executive management led by president Khalid Hassanali and the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) executive were locked in discussions which began since 10 am. “It is hoped that an appropriate resolution will be reached, for the benefit of the organisational and national interest,” a news release said.
Although fewer in number, workers were still gathered outside the company’s administrative building at Pointe-a-Pierre Roundabout yesterday awaiting the outcome of the meeting. In a release last night, Petrotrin said the company, in an effort to ensure its continued operations, made an offer to pay an advance towards the 2011-2012 variable pay. Petrotrin said this offer was rejected by the OWTU.
NP: Don’t panic buy
Meanwhile, there was no sign of panic buying or fuel shortages at several gas stations in San Fernando, Marabella and Duncan Village, yesterday. Advising against panic buying, the National Petroleum Company, in a media release, has assured that there were no problems with the supply of fuel to its service station network.
OWTU is also demanding that management make acting and temporary employees permanent, upgrade Petrotrin’s health plan and re-introduce its apprenticeship programme.
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