STATE-OWNED fuel distributor National Petroleum (NP) has denied claims by the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) that the company’s operations were being influenced by political or Government pressure.
In a full-page newspaper advertisement yesterday, the company stated it continues to operate on “strict commercial lines, adhering to good business practices”.
It added that there were no truth to claims made by the OWTU that the company was being privatised, with contracts being awarded to friends and family of the Government.
“The company has utilised the services of contractors for many years to supplement the shortfall in its own delivery fleet, as well as to manage the high cost of overtime and other inefficiencies perpetrated by the OWTU,” the advertisement stated.
On August 13, 14 and 15, based on these privatisation claims, the OWTU engaged workers at the company in a work stoppage.
Subsequent to this, the company stated, in pursuance of its rights, it suspended a total of 75 workers with full pay, “pending further investigation and final determination”.
On Wednesday, OWTU president general Ancel Roget told the Express the union had reported the action of NP’s management to the Occupational Health and Safety Agency (OSHA) after the company failed to meet with workers to discuss several safety issues raised by employees.
In the advertisement, NP stated that the union was now changing its reason behind the work stoppage from the company being privatised to health and safety concerns.
“No such complaint or new HSE (health, safety and environment) issues were raised with the company prior to the unlawful work stoppage. Coincidentally, the safety issue which concerns the company continues to be the mysterious triggering of our fire alarm system whenever there is an illegal work stoppage,” the advertisement stated.