Saturday, January 20, 2018

Only the small man will suffer

Taxi drivers on OWTU strike:

IN SUPPORT: Long Circular taxi driver Damon Timothy talked with us at Chacon Street in Port of Spain, yesterday.

port of spain
Taxi drivers are bracing for an upset in the supply of fuel as a result of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union’s (OWTU) planned shut down of Petrotrin.
They believe that “only the small man will suffer” if this takes place and have urged the union to reconsider the move.
OWTU president general Ancel Roget has already warned motorists to stock up on gas as there may be no production for 90 days due to the shutdown.
The Express sought the view of taxi drivers on the issue yesterday.
Port of Spain to San Fernando taxi driver Gregory Gordon described the union’s action as unpatriotic.
“When gas stops and we can’t get gas that means there will be no taxi service because we operate by gas. I am not against anybody having a strike but do not suffer those who are not directly involved in it,” he said.
“They are affecting the nation by having a strike. It is unpatriotic of them to strike because the people who they supposed to be affecting, they’re not affecting. They are rich and may have a big tanker bringing gas to them. When you’re striking make sure those who have to pay truly feel the pinch, not we who out here looking for it,” Gordon pointed out.
Unreasonable strike action 

A Round D’ Road taxi driver, who only gave his name as Sam, scoffed at Roget’s advice to motorists to stock up on gas.
“What that going to do? Every day I basically use about three quarter tank of gas so what I will do the next day if I don’t get any more? This is my livelihood. Taxi work is not easy now so whatever I make in the day I have to be satisfied with,” he said.
“This strike is not going to affect me alone, but the travelling public, the working public. When school reopens Monday it takes us an hour and a half to get from Cunupia to Port of Spain, look at the amount of gas we burning there. I have a family to maintain. No gas means no money coming in. These guys and them unreasonable man!”
San Juan taxi driver, Stanley, said his family depends on the income he gets from transporting passengers.
He said if gas is not available everything around him will crash.
“This will affect me seriously. Once I can’t get gas I can’t work, my family depends on what I bring in. I also have a new car I bought just recently so I in real, real stupidness. I find this is wrong man.”
“These are the most highly paid workers. Maybe not now, as we’re down in a big hole. Everybody wants something and everybody will do well with something more but at least let us come out the big hole nah,” he said.
Pay workers 

Some drivers sided with the actions of the OWTU.
San Fernando driver Andre Morrison said he has already filled up containers of fuel to last him about a week.
“I took in front. I am in support of the unions because workers in general need to be paid. Petrotrin says it has no money but on the other hand the last board members would have paid themselves handsomely before demitting office. So I am in support of them to that point, but this should have happened three years ago,” he said.
Long Circular driver Damon Timothy said while a strike will affect his livelihood, workers have a right to protest if they are not being paid what is owed to them.
“Some people may argue that Petrotrin workers are the highest paid in the country, but don’t they work hard? If they’re not getting what they’re working hard for they must take action.”
Sangre Grande driver Mark Anthony did not seem the least bit worried about matter.
“That is a joke thing. It can’t happen. Because guess what, if them stop work, the military will come in and once the military come in and have to take over an important service like gas, when it is time for them to get back their work a lot of people are going to lose their jobs,” he said.
“They’re just bluffing and I find in disagreements when people bluff, bluff, bluff and say they will shut down, that is childish type of behaviour.”