A follow-up meeting today between the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union (OWTU) and Petrotrin's board of directors may finally resolve the tension at the State-owned company.
After a three-hour meeting yesterday between OWTU leader Ancel Roget and Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine ended without resolution, Roget said he will meet with the Petrotrin board to discuss the outstanding matters later today.
The meeting took place at the Ministry of Energy's office in the International Financial Centre, Port of Spain yesterday.
"We are going to meet with the board tomorrow (today) to deal with the filling of vacancies and also the issue of outstanding variable pay. In the meantime we are going to report to the workers, after that meeting with the board we will determine the best way forward," Roget said.
"In the meantime, fill up your tanks because we cannot guarantee a supply of gasoline to the motoring public," he added.
"As we speak the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery is down," Roget said.
Roget admitted that there were "mixed messages" regarding the state of the refinery, but said while the production fields were back up, the refinery remained off-line.
"There was some normalcy restored by workers yesterday (Tuesday) but that did not restart the refinery," he said.
While the three issues at the forefront of the OWTU's argument were the unadvertised award of a bunkering license to a still unnamed company; the unfilled vacancies within the State-owned company; and the lack of variable pay for the 2009/2010 period, Roget only met with Ramnarine to discuss the first two issues.
"The Minister is nowhere nearer to direct the board on those two issues. We feel that they are poised to head in a destructive direction. We told the Minister clearly that we are not satisfied with that response," he said.
Three members of the Petrotrin board were also at the meeting to assist with decisions on filling the outstanding vacancies, but Roget questioned why the empty positions needed board approval.
"The board is putting a stranglehold on the filling of those vacancies and we have a major issue with that. What has happened is that they are putting a hold on it to preserve certain vacancies for some of their friends and families and so on.
"We are not happy that we have not recorded any pronounced achievement after meeting with the Minister," said Roget.