Trade unions in Trinidad and Tobago held a demonstration to demand decent health and safety at work conditions
The Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) and the Steel Workers Union of Trinidad and Tobago (SWUTT), both affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union, joined the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) in organizing a demonstration on 7 April to protest at the failure of multinational companies to comply with health and safety at work standards.
They called on the government to listen to workers’ demands and treat them with respect. One of their concerns is about BP, one of Trinidad and Tobago’s main oil and gas producers.
The company recently announced it will not build its Angelin natural gas platform in the country “due to project timeliness and other competitiveness factors".
However, the unions believe BP took the decision because of worker protests about the health and safety situation at their workplaces.
The workers believe the government should insist that multinational companies comply with national legislation, which provides that employers must provide decent health and safety conditions.
The OWTU leader and member of IndustriALL World Executive Committee, Ancel Roget, said “there will be more and more protests” unless the government is proactive in dealing with union demands and unless it treats workers with respect.
IndustriALL director Fernando Lopes, said:
“We support the fight of workers in Trinidad and Tobago, which is for health and safety at work, sustainable development and an industrial policy that promotes industrialization in Trinidad and Tobago”.