Trinidad and Tobago’s government recently announced a restructuring of state-owned oil company Petrotrin, which is in debt due to the fall in oil prices and unpaid taxes. In response, IndustriALL affiliate OWTU is organizing protests at Petrotrin’s Trinmar offshore operations at Point Fortin.
The union’s action plan includes monthly marches against possible job cuts and privatization of the company.
OWTU leader Ancel Roget, announced he will call on workers from all over the country for solidarity and support in the struggle against the current government’s promotion of injustice, inequality and incompetence.
Any one of us, including temporary workers and those who have worked for the company for years, could end up as victims and lose their jobs
said Roget at a press conference.
The OWTU emphasizes that it does not reject the idea of restructuring, but believes that reducing the workforce will not solve Petrotrin’s financial problems.
The union submitted recommendations for a fair restructuring in 2017 and offered support if workers were involved in the process, but the company did not reply.
IndustriALL’s Regional Officer for Latin América and the Caribbean, Marino Vani, offered support for the workers’ struggle:
We offer our solidarity to Petrotrin’s workers and our affiliate, the OWTU. We oppose governments that hand over our wealth to big transnational companies, dressing it up as modernization.
Privatizing energy companies is the same as relinquishing our sovereignty and increasing inequality, unemployment and social injustice in our countries. All our support to the struggle of OWTU workers!
Petrotrin reports directly to the finance ministry and its operations include exploration, development and production of hydrocarbons and the manufacture and marketing of oil products. Petrotrin operates the country’s only oil refinery and sells its products on the local market, in the Caribbean, Latin America and the Unites States.