Petrotrin can resume termination of workers this morning after a High Court judge halted the injunction granted to the Oilfields’ Workers Trade Union hours ago.
Justice of Appeal Charmaine Pemberton blocked the injunction awarded by the Industrial Court around 11.32 last night and fixed the hearing to resume before a three-member panel of the Appeal Court for October 18.
Last Tuesday, the Industrial Court had granted an injunction to the OWTU prohibiting Petrotrin from moving ahead with the termination timetable before the court heard an industrial relations matter the union had raised against the ailing state oil company.
Petrotrin had already handed out close to 500 termination letters to workers last weekend ahead of the injunction but those were rendered void pending the outcome of the appeal yesterday.
After hearing arguments for close to seven hours from lawyers representing Petrotrin, the OWTU and the Office of the Attorney General, Pemberton eventually ruled in the company’s favour.
Hours after Tuesday’s ruling, Finance Minister Colm Imbert had told the nation that Government could not afford to continue to bail out the company, as to do so risked crippling the entire economy.
Petrotrin chairman Wilfred Espinet was also publicly critical of the Industrial Court's ruling and had to be cautioned by his lawyers against further comment as he bordered on contempt of court.
More on this story later.