back to normal: A gas station attendant fills up a vehicle at a service station at Vistabella yesterday. —Photo: TREVOR WATSON

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Long line-ups disappear after Petrotrin, OWTU pact

By Nikita Braxton-Benjamin

THE end of threats of strike action by Petrotrin employees over the Carnival weekend following successful wage negotiations between the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union (OWTU) and management of Petrotrin two days ago has stopped panic buying at service stations in south and central Trinidad and brought operations back to normal yesterday.

Motorists were able to fill their tanks yesterday without having to wait in long lines or drive long distances to find an open gas station.

This was what happened last week when several service stations pulled chains and had "closed" signs on display after talks of strike action being taken by Petrotrin employees caused panic buying by motorists.

It was following failed salary negotiations between Petrotrin employees and the company last week that OWTU president general Ancel Roget threatened strike action by the employees of the State-owned refinery over the Carnival weekend.

But on Friday, 24 hours before the planned strike, a nine per cent wage deal was reached between the two parties.

Service stations were being filled by gasoline and diesel tankers even while negotiations were taking place on Friday and yesterday distribution of fuel to motorists was back on track.

With no impending strike action, soldiers of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force, who had been sent to Petrotrin's Pointe-a-Pierre facility to secure installations, were allowed to leave.

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