The 68 fired employees of National Petroleum, who range from labourers to truck drivers, are expected to meet with the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) today to discuss their dismissals.
A case arising out of the work stoppage is currently before the Industrial Court, with another hearing date yet to be set.
One employee, who was stunned at receiving the letter of termination, said yesterday this comes after weeks of trying to meet with management to discuss health and safety concerns.
“We were never given a chance to air our concerns,” said the employee, who, with the others, is now closing in on ten weeks of suspension since being part of the industrial action.
Instead, members of the dissenting group claimed they were called in two weeks ago to a disciplinary hearing, but were still not given the opportunity to point out the reasons they withheld labour in August—though the employee reported that some colleagues who returned to work on August 15 were prevented, by management, from performing their duties.
“In some cases, the keys had been taken out of the trucks so that no one could drive them,” the employee said.
On August 16, most of those who took part in the action were issued letters of suspension, where they have remained while the matter is addressed in the court.
The workers had said they downed their tools after exhausting all other means of bringing management’s attention to life-threatening situations and practices on the plant site at Sea Lots in Port of Spain.
Similar action had been staged in Point Lisas earlier in the year.
“Employees have been complaining about poor equipment, problems with the trucks and bad practices for years,” the Express was told.
Last week, an NP truck bearing gasoline exploded at a gas station in Caparo in Central Trinidad, causing damage. No one was killed.