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Petrotrin beefs-up packages for workers

Trinidad Guardian, 25 June 2000

PETROTRIN has beefed up its package for junior staff employees with interest-free computer loans and dental and optical provisions in the medical plan, as negotiations with the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) continue.

But the State-owned company and the OWTU have stalled on a proposed general wage increase for workers. The matter has since been referred for third party arbitration, Petrotrin announced in a news release Friday.

Khalid Hassanali, Petrotrin's executive manager, corporate administration, advised employees that the company had made a final offer to the union.

This included an eight per cent wage increase, improved health plan and increases in COLA, incentives, bonuses and allowances. But despite the "high standard" of negotiations, which Petrotrin and OWTU had conducted in "mutual respect" for each other, Hassanali informed workers that the two parties could not "reach an accord" on a general increase.

"As a result of this and in order to maintain our good relationships, we have referred the matter for resolution," he stated.

Although Petrotrin has been profitable, this has been the result of recent oil price and product highs rather than an improvement in the company's operating efficiency.

"Petrotrin remains vulnerable and we must resist the temptation to become complacent.

We must be mindful that Petrotrin needs to generate and reserve sufficient funds for reinvestment in order to sustain its competitiveness in the energy sector," Hassanali remarked.