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Trinidad: Petrotrin workers offered 5% increase

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(Trinidad Express) Just as workers were expected to walk off the job and occupy strike camps outside State-owned Petrotrin’s operations, the company’s management returned to the discussions with an improved offer of five per cent and a mandate to conclude negotiations by February 28.

The Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) had earlier rejected an interim offer of a three per cent wage increase for the period 2011 to 2014.

Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus will hold a press conference at Ministry’s Head Office, Level 6, Tower C, International Waterfront Centre at 12:30 p.m. today on the issue.

On Sunday, the Minister of Labour met with representatives of the executive of OWTU led by President General Ancel Roget and the negotiating team of Petrotrin led by president, Fitzroy Harewood, to continue conciliation talks between the two parties. These talks were adjourned at 4:30 p.m. to allow both parties to attend the Industrial Court to continue conciliation proceedings on the collective bargaining period 2011- 2014.

Both parties are also in conciliatory discussions for the period 2014 to 2017. The OWTU has requested a 10 per cent increase, however, the company refused to move from its 0-0-0 proposal.

Conciliation talks resumed at the Ministry of Labour shortly after 7:00 p.m. where the initial offer, which was presented to the union of 0-0-0 was replaced with an “interim offer of 3%”. This offer was rejected by the OWTU.  Discussions between the two parties are on-going.

Last week, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said that even a one percent increase in wages to Petrotrin workers would cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars.

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