Petrotrin workers put down tools

By Susan Mohammed

OVER 2,000 employees of State oil company Petrotrin downed tools and protested yesterday over what they said was the nonpayment of outstanding money, promised upgrades, and health and safety concerns.

From as early as 7 a.m. the workers sang and chanted outside Petrotrin's administration building in Pointe-a-Pierre.

Roger Stewart, first branch president of the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union (OWTU) said Petrotrin workers at Trinmar in Point Fortin, Santa Flora and Barrackpore also downed tools.

Several tankers awaiting entry into Petrotin's Pointe-a-Pierre compound to be filled with gasoline for distribution to service stations, remained parked outside as the workers barred them from entering the compound.

By afternoon, when the protest ended and workers dispersed, the tankers were refilled.

OWTU branch secretary at Petrotrin, Shaffick Hyatali, said the protest did not affect productivity at the refinery.

Petrotrin said yesterday many employees were unable to get to work as a result of the protest.

The company stated: "We want to reassure the public that contingency plans are in place to ensure the continuation of our operations. This is a critical year for Petrotrin as we seek to improve our oil production and refinery throughput."

Stewart said the protest may continue today.

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