Monday 17 June, 2019

NATUC condemns Petrotrin termination letters

The National Trade Union Centre of Trinidad and Tobago (Natuc) condemned the issuing of 200 termination letters to Petrotrin employees last week.

In a statement, NATUC said the employees who received the letters were not members of the OWTU  but were represented by the National Petroleum Staff Association (NPSA) who are affiliated to the union.

The union slammed the "arrogance and disrespect" exhibited by the company.

"We are witnessing an arrogance and disrespect of the tenures of good industrial relation practices by the Board and management of Petrotrin and we dear say, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. We in NATUC believe that the Government cannot extricate itself from its responsibilities of mandating and holding all Government entities accountable for any kind of Industrial relations practice or behaviour that is not acceptable to good Industrial relations."

"The issue in the sending home of the 200 employees has nothing to do with whether the workers are represented by a union or not; or whether the workers are contract workers."

"The issue here in NATUC’s view, is rooted in the fact that the matter of the closing down of Petrotrin and failing to meet and treat with the union in good faith on all issues relating to the closure of Petrotrin, is currently before the Industrial Court  and common sense will dictate, in our humble view, that all matters involving the termination of any worker/ employees shall be stayed until the Honourable Judges of the Industrial Court hand down their Judgement in the matter filed by the OWTU."

"We in NATUC therefore reemphasise that the action of the Board and Management of Petrotrin is contemptuous, disrespectful and smacks of a level of insensitivity and arrogance the likes of which we have only ever seen in our colonial past," the union said. 

Natuc called on the government to treat with the OWTU in establishing a solution.

"We warn, that in the absence of humility, in the absence of seeing issues from the perspective of the other side and treating the citizens as human beings, Trinidad and Tobago will be on an Industrial Relations slippery slope with all the inherent dangers for Trinidad and Tobago."

"We therefore, once again, call on the Government to treat with the OWTU in good faith and to work towards finding a mutually beneficial outcome to the Petrotrin issue.

"We repeat arrogance, hubris and omnipotence has no place in running a government and making decisions on behalf of the People.

"The People must be intimately involved in decisions that affect them; that is the hallmark of true democracy and leadership.

"We remind all concerned that Trinidad and Tobago is a member of the ILO and holds a seat on the Governing body of the ILO and therefore it is incumbent on the government of Trinidad and Tobago to recognise and ensure that the Principles of good industrial relation practices are always observed," the union said. 

On October 5 employees were notified of the accelerated distribution of letters via an internal release, following “overwhelming feedback” received during employee communication sessions.

The memo also reminded employees of the need to continue to observe the company’s policies, in particular, policies that seek to protect Petrotrin's assets and employees from misuse and abuse.

Employees were encouraged to continue to preserve the assets and consult the company’s policies for guidance.


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