MSJ demands reinstatement of fired NP workers
The Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) today issued a call for the immediate reinstatement of 68 workers at National Petroleum (NP), who the MSJ claims were dismissed as a result of political vindictiveness.
The following is the statement by the MSJ -
The Movement for Social Justice calls the act of dismissal of 68 workers at NP an act of political vindictiveness against workers who were simply trying to defend their jobs and protecting their right to safety and health at NP. The Board sanctioned dismissal amounts to an unprecedented attack against all workers and the labour movement in Trinidad and Tobago as some twelve Union Officers are among those dismissed. The fact that the dismissals were done the day after the local government election defeat of the government signals an intensification of direct action against workers as the corrupt elementsand cabal in the government attempt to transfer as much of the collective wealth of the country into the private hands of their friends, family and political investors in the shortest possible time while they are still in office.
The firing of some sixty eight workers by the National Petroleum Marketing Company Ltd. is a direct result of the UNC government (which masquerades as the People’s Partnership) continuing attempts to privatise by direct or indirect means, key profit making state enterprises. This is borne out by the facts of this situation. In August eighty five workers were suspended for their refusal “to train new entrants in the system including employees of contractors and managerial personnel …” this according to NP’s full page Ad in the daily newspapers of Thursday 22nd August 2013. The Board and Management of NP clearly had an agenda. The agenda was to increase the ability of contractors to do the work normally performed by permanent NP workers. And who are these contractors? Supporters of the ruling UNC government! This is how the corruption is effected.
At the end of this “training”, NP would have had no use for the permanent workers as the work could now be done by the contractors. However, in the process, the health and safety of the workers would be compromised and this the NP workers resisted. These workers are now being fired for refusing to perform duties outside of their job specification or description. The fact that the collective agreement and the Industrial Relations and Occupational Safety and Health Acts were disregarded speaks to the contempt of the management at NP for the rights of workers and of the very existence of trade unions. But this is not surprising for this UNC government having regard to the views, publicly expressed by the now fired Chairman of National Quarries Ltd who referred to trade unionists as the most disgusting of human beings.
Over the next 18 months given that the writing is on the wall for the UNC government, workers can expect to see a hastening of the government’s sharing out of national resources to party hacks, financiers, friends and family. This culture of corruption, nepotism, patronage and anti-worker policies by the cabal and the UNC is reason why the MSJ left the Partnership in 2012.
The Movement for Social Justice calls for the immediate reinstatement of the 68 workers and for workers everywhere in Trinidad and Tobago to prepare to defend their ground against this onslaught which the government will try to advance over the coming period. We invite all citizens who believe in justice and fairness, and who are opposed to discrimination, corruption and victimisation to stand with the NP workers at this time. Remember, today it is the NP workers – tomorrow it could be you!