Address covid19 fears on rig

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THE Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) says it is “angered by the attitude of Perenco Trinidad and Tobago,” while the Banking Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU) is requesting clarity.

This follows claims over the past three days that Perenco’s offshore workers tested positive for covid19 on one of the rigs.

Claims have also been made that covid19 patients on the rig are free to mingle and interact with the other workers, and that some were given permission to return home without being tested for the virus.

These claims were included in a TT Guardian article on Tuesday in which Perenco workers were explaining the situation.

In a release, JTUM said Perenco sent a “letter of threat” to its workers which “is a clear indication of this company’s intent to hide, undermine and cover-up any wrong with regards to the handling of covid19 cases found on the various platforms.”

The article also said the workers were told to cease communication with the Guardian.

JTUM said the company “has shown its arrogance and disregard for workers’ lives.

“It will be extremely important for this company to remember that in this country, massa day done. Whoever is advising, it seems Perenco – a multi-national company with numerous subsidiaries throughout the world – has been unfortunately ill-informed with regards to the laws and rules of TT.

“Workers who are represented by a union cannot be barred from speaking to their recognised majority union. As such, the memo preventing workers from speaking to anyone outside of their indoctrinated public relations spokesperson is a violation of every worker’s rights.”

Since offshore rig workers’ lives are “continuously at risk,” JTUM said it finds Perenco’s behaviour “heart-wrenching.

“Therefore, by this company blatantly choosing to play mind games to cover-up a clear mismanagement is extremely dangerous.

“JTUM stands in solidarity with the BIGWU who is a member of JTUM and calls on Perenco to treat workers with respect and cease their shameful attack on their lives.”

In a separate release, BIGWU pleaded with Perenco saying, “We are constrained, in this regard, to ask on behalf of the affected workers and their families for your urgent and decisive intervention, to investigate and determine whether Perenco has met the required standards to ensure not only the health, safety and well being of their employees, but also the public at large.

“We are certain that you can and will appreciate the heightened state of anxiety and stress that this situation is causing amongst the workers and their families and urge and appeal for immediate attention to be paid to the matter.”

Newsday tried to contact Perenco’s health, safety and environment adviser and community relations liaison Samantha Inglefield for comment but was told she was in a crisis-management meeting.

Perenco is yet to issue a statement on the matter.

Newsday also tried contacting Energy Minister Franklin Khan and Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram but all calls went unanswered.

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