Saturday, December 16, 2017

McLeod: I’m the right man to solve dispute

Labour Minister Errol McLeod believes he could bring a resolution to the stalemate between Petrotrin and the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU).

Speaking with reporters yesterday at his Tobago office, McLeod said his intention would be “a bold attempt at resolving the ongoing dispute between these two very major organisations in the country”.

Questioned as to whether there is a conflict of interest with him being the former president general of the OWTU, McLeod insisted there was no conflict of interest, but he was the right man to assist in the process towards a resolution of the matter.

“I think that I am perhaps very well positioned to deal with the issues affecting labour and management at this time,” he said.

He said at this time, he is seeking an understanding of the national good and interest and, at the same time, will try to satisfy demands of both the workers and the employer, Petrotrin. He stressed, however, the situation at this time is not as bad as previous years of structural adjustment programmes.

“Well, I have always been the eternal optimist. I believe that tomorrow, the sun will shine brighter than it has ever shone before, if it does not rain.”

Last Friday, negotiations broke down after the OWTU rejected Petrotrin’s proposals for a five per cent salary increase. The union is demanding 75 per cent.