President of the Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber, Manniram Prashad, has expressed displeasure with the decision of the Guyana Agricultural Workers’ Union to collaborate with the Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) of Trinidad and Tobago.
A release from the energy chamber on Wednesday stated that it is unfortunate that GAWU saw it fit to have “foreign intervention” to represent Guyana’s oil and gas workers, as it has signed a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) with OWTU.
GAWU said the agreement will allow for the sharing of knowledge and skills from the OWTU, which has some 85 years’ experience representing workers in the sector in Trinidad and Tobago.
However, GOGEC’s view is that Guyana has good practices in the oil and gas sector, and that the Ministry of Labour has been monitoring this closely and effectively.
Additionally, GOGEC said it has always advocated for Guyanese workers doing the same job as expatriates be paid similar wages, and respects good industrial relations to ensure there is a healthy climate.
GOGEC said GAWU should reconsider its decision, pointing to the fact that the now defunct Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago (Petrotrin) had seen strikes, protest actions and marches prior to its closure in 2018, and that OWTU lost a significant amount of its membership.
“We have a relatively stable industrial climate in the oil and gas sector in Guyana and we want it to remain that way,” GOGEC stated. It advised GAWU to seek help from local trade unions.
The two unions intend to promote training and development efforts and the transfer of technical skills to ensure workers are aware of their rights. They plan to enhance their MoC in the coming weeks.