The Industrial Court has granted an injunction to the Oilfields Workers Trade Union, to hear its case against the proposed retrenchment of workers at Petrotrin, in the government’s move to restructure the company.
The union went to court last week seeking to forestall an intention by the company, to begin issuing retrenchment notice to 200 employees. The company, led by the Chairman of its Board, Wilfred Espinet, is seeking to go ahead with a plan to shut down the Pointe a Pierre refinery, as well as the entire rest of the company and rehire employees in a proposed new entity.
It was reported yesterday, the Energy Minister Franklin Khan has disclosed that a new entity is to be named Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Limited. No date is yet known for hearing of the injunction.
The matter pits two long-standing friends and colleagues in the legal profession against each other. Reginald Armour, SC is representing the State, while Douglas Mendes, SC appears for the union, which is contending that the company committed a breach in industrial relations, by not informing the union of its intention to take the action which it is now pursuing.
The State is contending that the company was required first to consult with the government, its sole shareholder.
Overall, the government has begun the process of finalising retrenchment for a total of 3,400 workers, put at a figure of some $2.6 billion. But in one of his contentions, Attorney Mends says up to 5,000 workers will be affected.
There is now word that the company has filed notice of appeal against the hearing of the injunction.