Petrotrin gets 2 weeks to settle wage accord
By Yvonne Webb, Trinidad Guardian, 17 May 2000
UNIONISED workers at Petrotrin have given the company a two-week deadline to settle negotiations. Failing this, the employees cautioned "they will see the wrath of the workers."
The warning was issued yesterday by second vice-president of the Oilfield Workers' Trade Union (OWTU), Errol Allan McLeod, during a mid-morning demonstration by workers outside the Administration Building, Pointe-a-Pierre. The workers are members of the OWTU.
He said: "Petrotrin workers at Pointe-a-Pierre have gathered this morning to show their dissatisfaction to the management of Petrotrin with the way they are being treated, pertaining to a settlement of this negotiations taking place.
"The workers believe management is wilfully and deliberately dragging their feet in settling this matter and we have come to show that dissatisfaction."
He said in the past, negotiations have taken between three and four years for a settlement, "but this time it is different." He explained: "It is different this time because the oil price is up and it is beneficial for the management to settle this now."
Negotiations for a new collective agreement for hourly/weekly and monthly-paid junior staff for the period 1999-2000 began last November.
To date, agreement has been reached on 24 out of the 34 items in the collective agreement. The wage increase is not among the items agreed to.
The company has offered a seven per cent wage increase over the life of the new collective agreement, in addition to an enhanced medical plan, which includes dental and optical benefits on a shared cost basis.
McLeod said there were still areas to be worked out with the medical plan, housing and pension plan.
Petrotrin said they believe the seven per cent offer puts them in an externally competitive position within the industry.
The company said it has agreed to enhanced maternity benefits; improvements to meal and subsistence allowances; the schedule of additional sick leave benefits for surgical operations; funeral leave provision and reduction in the number of stages in the grievance procedure.