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Roget: Politics and oil don’t mix
President general of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union Ancel Roget is warning that there will be months of fuel shortages if the government continues to interfere with Petrotrin’s operations, by recommending unqualified, inefficient party loyalists for key positions.
Addressing hundreds of workers outside the company’s refinery at Pointe-a-Pierre yesterday, Roget accused Petrotrin’s management of trying to taint the OWTU workers as being “craveteous, money grabbing, greedy rebels” who did not have the company’s interest at heart. However, he said the OWTU was trying to safeguard the country by ensuring that the state owned Petrotrin was not buried by nepotism and mismanagement. Saying “politics and oil don’t mix,” Roget said that top managerial posts were being created for party loyalists while over 800 vacancies were waiting to be filled.
He said the Health Safety and Environment department was understaffed along with Refinery and Marketing (R&M), Exploration and Production (E&P) and Trinmar. “Operators in the refinery are working double shifts in the plants and this poses a threat to their life and limb because you cannot operate machinery if you are exhausted,” Roget said.
He added: “Not for hell will they hire marine riggers, welders, electricians, maintenance, port workers or operators.” Roget said workers who were acting in positions for years with the knowledge, qualifications and expertise were being sidelined in favour of party fanatics.
“It is mismanagement and nepotism of the highest degree. We do not want any sycophant who have allegiance to government to run our company to the ground. We will defend it. We must have suitably qualified people with the requisite experience to run our operations,” Roget said.
He promised that protests would stretch for months on end if the vacancies were not filled and if the “party sycophants” were not removed. Roget also said the union would not stand by and allow retirees to be denied of their medical plan or pensions, nor would casual workers be sent home with no benefits.
He also accused Petrotrin of trying to hoodwink the union on the issue of variable pay by saying the company operated at a loss for 2009-2010.
Petrotrin, through it Corporate Communications Department, said the company is working to ensure employees are allowed safe access to the workplace.The company said also contingency plans are now in effect, and all efforts are being made to maintain a reliable supply of product to all markets. Gas stations continue to have a supply of premium and super unleaded gasoline as well as fuel. There were unusually long lines at Cross Crossing, San Fernando yesterday but by midday the lines had been attended to.
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