Friday, January 19, 2018

...Chambers warn of effect on struggling economy

THE Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce (T&T Chamber) said yesterday it “strongly condemns” the industrial action initiated against Petrotrin by the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU).
“Considering the company’s financial difficulties, the T&T Chamber is of the view that the key bargaining stakeholders ought to have centred their dialogue on the survival of the company, as opposed to one side making untenable demands for wage increases.
“At the end of (the fourth quarter) last year, Petrotrin’s closing figures registered a staggering drop in revenue of $3.2 billion–part of a more than 50 per cent decline over a four-year period,” the Chamber said in a statement.
The business group-the country’s largest-deemed it “wholly irresponsible of the OWTU to take action designed to hold the country to ransom based on their trade union-led agitation for salary increases”.
Vulnerable will lose
In Petrotrin’s current financial state, this action is nothing short of unconscionable, the Chamber said.
“At the end of the day, it is the more vulnerable who most stand to lose, should Petrotrin be forced into a position of capitulating to the OWTU demands. The implications of this to our people and to our local economy in an already volatile climate cannot be underestimated.”
It added: “The T&T Chamber categorically denounces the strike action and challenges the OWTU to reconsider its position and renew its tripartite pledge to dialogue in a manner that will facilitate a fair and non-disruptive settlement for all common interests.
Anything less, is unworthy of the true spirit of the collective bargaining process.”
Tobago Chamber condemns strike
The Tobago Chamber is also condemning the intended strike by Petrotrin workers. Chairman Demi John Cruickshank at a press conference yesterday said the actions of a strike on Tobago can be crippling, especially to Tobago’s economy and the air and seabridge.
“Both government, Petrotrin and the union need to come to an amicable situation very quickly to solve this, because we would not like to see a strike action for 30 days, 60 days, or even 90 days, that will cripple the economy of Trinidad and Tobago,” Cruickshank said.
However, he is calling on Tobagonians not to panic buy.