By Stephen Kangal
February 22, 2012
Once again the people of T&T were under siege and being held to ransom and exploited by unscrupulous unions such as OWTU and SWWTU – formerly Branch No.1 of the PNM. The former attempted to endanger the socio-economic success of the Carnival by giving notice of calling a strike to deprive us of petrol/diesel to begin on Carnival Saturday. The SWWTU did the same during the busy Xmas season by closing the port.
The OWTU wanted to cripple T&T for Carnival to serve as a leverage to exact exorbitant, above-market wages from state-owned Petrotrin where a labourer gets $20,000.00 per month. The OWTU has to amass enough money to put away for Roget’s diamond handshake while 30% of us Trinbagonians must exist below the poverty line. More than 200,000 pensioners have to take another de facto decrease in the purchasing power of their fixed incomes because they are shopping in the same market as the astronomically paid – oil workers.
The resources needed for Petrotrin to pay the state share-holder in dividends/profits for the population to share in are being monopolised and confiscated by a militant uncaring trade union. They oppose privatization of state companies who own and manage the commanding heights of the economy for them to exploit to the max for the benefit of a selfish few – something that they may not be able to achieve with private ownership modus operandi.
I condemned this Carnival unfriendly, industrial action being perpetrated by the OWTU as being oppressive, uncaring, disloyal and very unpatriotic geared to spoil “we mas” and not allow Carnival to serve as a pressure relief valve for so many in T&T. This sabre-rattling was discordant to the music of Carnival.
The foreign exchange earning capacity of Carnival was being deliberately undermined and tarnished by the insensitivity of the OWTU to the challenging state of the economy, lack of consumer confidence and the declining revenues from the tourism sector by its narrow and parochial interest-base.
Good sense prevailed and there was an ante-Carnival settlement based on 9% over three years that will cost Petrotrin an additional $270 m. These workers will also share in the $2.2bn profits made by Petrotrin last year and the Treasury and the rest of T&T will get nothing because the hydrocarbon patrimony of T&T is mortgaged to the OWTU. This feeding frenzy and monopoly over the common hydrocarbon heritage of T&T must stop in the interest of equity, justice and fair play where the rich oil workers are getting richer at the expense of the working poor and the rural dispossessed.
10 thoughts on “OWTU Wanted To Spoil We Carnival”
OWTU owns the oil and gas in T&T. That is a fact, if the government do not submit to their silly request for more money, they will do everything to destroy the T&T economy. A labourer makes almost as much of as the Prime Minister. That is ridiculous in this day and age. Unions are not about fair wages or benefits, they are about as getting as much as they can from the employer. That means wages are determined by them rather than by the market or other factors.
Steven, I have no issue with you opposing the OWTU strike. But to say that they are a branch of the PNM is ridiculous. You are old enough to know Carl Tull, George Weekesm Panday, Jamadar and Shah bring the country to a halt in the 70s. The army had to deliver gas and sugar. Some people suffer from convenient amnesia when their party is in power. To be honest kamla come out smelling like a rose by giving the union the 9%. She secured some votes for the next election. For you to insinuate the these guys never strike when PNM was in power, is absolutely incredible.
It was the SWWTU who had boasted they were PNM Party Group No.1- not the OWTU. I never insinuated that they did not strike under the PNM.Where did you get that?
Port workers, PSA, etc will always get less at the bargaining table than OWTU. No oil, the world stops. If you happen to work in the oil industry, the payoff are good, especially in times of high prices. Oil makes the money for TT. Not PSA, not OWWTU.
(1) Once again the people of T&T were under siege and being held to ransom and exploited by unscrupulous unions such as OWTU and SWWTU – formerly Branch No.1 of the PNM.
(2) It was the SWWTU who had boasted they were PNM Party Group No.1- not the OWTU
Oh what a tangled web they weave in their predisposition to deceive. If the sky was to come down over T&T today Kangal would blame it on the PNM. I tell you guys, there is no daylight between the insidious machinations of Kangal and the four Republicans we see vying for a nomination by resorting to menadacity and innuendoes in order to nasty their enemy.
Kangal’s assertion in para 1,and his explanation in 2 indicate how loose he is with facts. He stated as fact that OWTU and SWWTU were Branch No. 1 Members of the PNM. After he was taken to task over his prejudiced insinuations, he altered his positon. The question is why, instead of the assertion that the these Unions were priority members of the PNM, didn’t he include that that association was an allusion.
When I read Steven kangal’s posts or comments, I do so with the understanding that he sees the world through an ethnic prism. Although this basically does not vitiate against what one sees and says, when this is coupled with religious and cultural ethos that forever sees black as bad and Indian as good, respect for facts, truth, fainess becomes non existent.
If a Union or organization that is in disrepute today claims to be the home boy of Kamla, and this is presented in the manner of Kangal’s assertion, he would be frothing at the mouth and shouting racism. Because racism for those like him is no longer people who do not like Indians, but people who some Indians do not like because they point out the cockeyed manner in which they examined matters in our nation. But this kind of attitude has been part of our experience for centuries. Today it is being exhibited by those who might be a darker shade of pale, but other than that, it is like deja vu all over again.
The hydrocarbon patrimony of T&T is the common heritage of the people of T&T and not the exclusive preserve of the members of the OWTU. Oil workers are getting richer while the rest of us including 200,000 pensioners and 30% of the population below the poverty line are getting poorer and as I said shopping in the same market for food that today has increased the food price inflation.The money profits from oil must be shared equitably with the rest of the owners of the patrimony for the sake of distributive justice. We cannot be held to ransom by irresponsible trade unionists bent on amassing money for their golden handshakes especially thatb taken from the state sector that is Petrotrin.
It dont mind reading materials that are critical of other people or institutions but please, let there be facts that stand to bear and not opinions to lay blame or claim. One simple fact to negate your claim of the OWTU being PNM #1, was it not the same OWTU that marched with Kamla and her gang against the Manning regime before the election? I believe newspapers record can bear that out.
Steven, while totally agree with you that the oil revenues must be distributed equitably, in the real world it is never the case. Maybe you are looking at the gulf states which have so much descretionay income that they can do all these social programs. But still the bulk of the windfall stay in the hands of the few. The equitable distribution of revenue from whatever resources a county produces is always an ongoing process. This is dynamic, never static. In times of plenty, revenue flows.The pipe turns off when there is a shortfall.
Like I have said before,the people who work in the petro industry, from labourer to enginneer will always get better salaries as oppose to other professions. Because petroleum is the number one resource in the world. It derives the bulk of the revenue. If TT was communist country the govt could mandate who gets what. But we are not. Unions have a say in the economic affairs of the country.
No one was making excuses for the Unions. The issue was your devious attempt to link the PNM with what is transpiring by alleging a binding association between that party and the Unions.
Michael Anissette is one of the most powerful union leaders and has been continuously agitating openly and behind the scenes. He was a PNM senator in the last PNM government, who incidentally was very quiet during the Manning years as he promoted zero percent for the unions.
Anyone who believes that these unrealistic union demands are not politically motivated to embarass the present government is either politically naive or uninformed.
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