Public Service Association (PSA) president Watson Duke yesterday gave the management of two energy companies a deadline of two and a half weeks to resolve issues with workers’ performance appraisals.
Duke did not say what action the union would take if the management of Phoenix Park Gas Processors Limited (PPGPL) and the T&T National Gas Company Ltd (TTNGL) failed to comply, but he referred to a nationwide blackout in 2013.
Accompanied by a group of workers as he spoke at the entrance of PPGPL, Duke said: “I was told around Easter 2013 the importance of Phoenix Park Gas Processors Limited was known to this nation when something went wrong in the plant and there was a nationwide blackout.
“I’m saying, things have gone wrong in PowerGen and we still had a little electricity. Things have gone wrong in Petrotrin when it was Petrotrin and we still had a little electricity. Today the workload has increased upon these workers from 2013 to now. Now they are responsible for LPG, that is cooking gas, and we would not want anything to go wrong on June 7.
“We want nothing to go wrong on that day or before that day or after that day. In order for things to go right, the employees must be in the right frame of mind.”
Duke claimed chairman Gerry Brooks and president Dominic Rampersad began to attack the employees in 2017 when they froze salaries without any agreement or consultation, then changed the method used for performance appraisals.
“No president, no chairman, has the right to evaluate and downgrade an employee performance appraisal when the chairman and the president is not the direct supervisor, so this is way off base,” he said.
Duke further claimed that performance appraisals were being done using a bell curve.
“What employees have found is that even though their immediate supervisors are giving them Grade 5, the highest grade, and even though their work is scoring the highest in each and every category in which they are graded, when it goes to the president and the chairman, it comes back with a lower grade,” he said.
He said the matter was before the Labour Ministry’s conciliators but the PSA is “open to negotiations and indeed the matter can be solved easily before it goes to court.”
Warning that the union should not be treated lightly, he added: “Let them know this is not Petrotrin. This is not some little toolum factory sugar cake factory. This, as you see, represents importance in the energy sector, in particular when there is no Dragon Field, when BP has found dry wells, when our ability to produce gas and to boost ourselves in the energy sector is going down.
“You do not want to challenge the PSA. You do not want to challenge NATUC.
“You do not want to challenge the rights of the employees, they have rights. Please respect their rights and I say unto you mark today’s date. You have two weeks and a half to settle up or else.”