Petrotrin has resumed the distribution of notice of termination to workers, following a ruling in the high court on Wednesday, in which justice Charmaine Pemberton ordered a stay in the injunction granted by the Industrial Court on Monday.
Newspower Now has been informed that as at 10 o’clock this morning, the company resumed the action of handing out notices of termination to employees.
Responding to the decision by the court, Chief Education and Research Officer of the OWTU Ozzy Warwick maintained that it has now given citizens a chance to see what the union has been dealing with.
Speaking with News Power Now, he said the fact that the company has re-commenced the distribution of dismissal letters is a telling sign.
He said that the union respects the judgement of the court, but that it is clear the Petrotrin Chairman has no respect for the courts or the country’s laws.
Meanwhile, social activist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh says the state bears the brunt of the responsibility for the debacle.
He says that the Privy Council must now be brought to bear on this fundamental matter.
Petrotrin is now free to continue the process of terminating employees as it temporarily blocked an injunction granted to the Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union earlier this week by the Industrial Court.
Justice of Appeal Charmaine Pemberton delivered the ruling in favour of the state-owned energy company at around 11.30 p.m. last night at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain.
Her ruling came after close to seven hours of submissions from attorneys representing Petrotrin, the OWTU and the Office of the Attorney General.
The ruling means that Petrotrin can now resume the distribution of termination packages to workers as it works towards meeting its self-imposed timeline of November 30th to wind up operations.
However, the company still has another legal hurdle to face next week when the substantive appeal over the actual granting of the injunction comes up for hearing before a three-judge Appeal Court panel.
On Monday, Industrial Court president Deborah Thomas-Felix and four other judges unanimously ruled in favour of the union and granted it the injunction pending the hearing and determination of an Industrial Relations Offence over the company’s alleged failure to meet with it “in good faith” prior to making the decision to close the company in August.
The union claimed that Petrotrin committed the offence when it violated a Memorandum of Agreement signed between the Union and the company on April 3.
Prior to that ruling, approximately 300 workers were served with their termination packages.