OWTU pickets Public Utilities Ministry

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Members of the OWTU protest outside the Ministry of Public Utilities on Tuesday. – JEFF K MAYERS

Over 50 members of the Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) gathered outside the Ministry of Public Utilities on Elizabeth Street, St Clair, on Tuesday, to protest on behalf of TTEC workers. OWTU President General Ancel Roget said the action was the first of many that the union would carry out until Minister Marvin Gonzales met with them.

Roget said the union had delivered a letter in April requesting a meeting with the minister and, to date, had not received a response or acknowledgement that the letter had been received.

“The OWTU is a stakeholder in TTEC. We have a number of issues to discuss with the minister, with corruption being at the top of the list, and we thought he would be interested in hearing about it. A major one is the issue of corruption, a major driver of which is contracting of temporary workers.”

He said the islandwide blackout was the result of contracting temporary workers who had not done their work properly. He said the country was on the brink of another disaster, as with 300 vacancies, the workers were being asked to work excessive overtime and were burnt out.

Ancel Roget, president general of the Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU), speaks with TTEC workers during a protest outside the Ministry of Public Utilities in Port of Spain on Tuesday. – JEFF K MAYERS

Roget again called for the release of the business plan and manpower audit carried out by management to the union.

Executive vice-president Reesa Ramlogan-Jodha said the workers realised that mismanagement was resulting in the demise of TTEC.

“The management is refusing to sit with the union. They say they’re not obligated to share the manpower audit with the union, but we need to have the discussion. That will only happen if the line minister steps in.”

Roget noted that the union had been awarded several judgments against TTEC by the courts, but the company continued to ignore the judgments.