OWTU reports NP after failed safety meeting
Rickie Ramdass firstname.lastname@example.org
THE Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) has taken action against State-owned fuel distributor National Petroleum (NP) after management failed to meet with workers and discuss several safety issues raised by employees.
In a telephone interview yesterday, OWTU president general Ancel Roget said the union has reported the matter to the Occupational Health and Safety Agency (OSHA).
“It was since Friday, we requested that meeting, and today (yesterday) is Tuesday and the company has not responded. They did not meet and treat with the issues; instead, they proceeded to illegally suspend the workers,” said Roget.
He said under Section 15 of the OSHA Act, the workers had the right to raise the issues if they believed they were working under unsafe conditions.
The act, he said, further stated management was obligated to meet with the workers and discuss those issues.
“Should the employees work under these conditions and an incident like an explosion takes place, the blood of those workers will be on the hands of management,” said Roget.
On August 13, 14 and 15, the OWTU engaged the workers in a work stoppage at NP’s gantries, claiming management was seeking to privatise the company.
Since then, more than 40 employees have been suspended with pay.
On Tuesday, the company filed an industrial relations offence against the OWTU for the work stoppage.
The company stated the stoppage was illegal, pursuant to Section 84 of the Industrial Relations Act, Chapter 88:01.
A date is yet to be arrived at by the Industrial Court to determine when both parties would appear in the matter.
Attempts to contact Rae Gilbert, corporate communications manager at NP, for comment on the latest action taken by the OWTU proved futile as calls to her cellular phone went unanswered.