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No court order for Petrotrin-OWTU talks

By Carolyn Kissoon carolyn.kissoon@trinidadexpress.com

THE Industrial Court has not ordered conciliation talks between State-owned Petrotrin and the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union (OWTU), the company said yesterday.

Petrotrin dismissed union claims that the court had instructed both parties to enter discussions through supervised conciliation.

Instead, the company stated management was available to discuss issues raised by the OWTU, including alleged political interference and outstanding variable payments.

OWTU president general Ancel Roget had said on Wednesday, "The court recommended strongly that we go into conciliation and that (court) will provide facilities and the conciliator for a third party to conciliate in this matter to bring resolution to this matter. We agreed, and on Friday we will be taking directions as to what are the next steps and how we go forward in that regard."

Representatives of the company and union attended a hearing at the Industrial Court in Port of Spain yesterday.

A press release was issued by Petrotrin late yesterday stating: "The court agreed that the parties would not go to conciliation. Petrotrin remains available to discuss issues raised by the OWTU."

The court granted an injunction on Tuesday that forced Petrotrin workers to return to the job after a week-long work stoppage that the company said had cost $700 million in lost income.

Roget said workers complied with the order and returned to the workplace.

Petrotrin stated during yesterday's hearing, "Both parties agreed to the dates by which they would submit further evidence in respect of Petrotrin's application for an order against the OWTU regarding the commission of an industrial relations offence and the continuing injunction."

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