Some of the Perenco Trinidad and Tobago Limited workers wait on a shuttle boat to be transferred to Point Galeota on Sunday, after testing positive for COVID-19.

The Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) has expressed anger at the attitude of Perenco Trinidad and Tobago’s management in dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak on two of its platforms and at its threat to discipline workers should they disclose any information on the incident to any third party, including the media.

In a statement issued last evening, JTUM said the threat letter and other correspondences issued to workers by the oil and gas company was “a clear indication of this company’s intent to hide, undermine and coverup any wrong with regards to the handling of COVID-19 cases found on the various platforms.”

The union said the company, in handling this extremely serious matter, has shown its arrogance and disregard for workers’ lives.

“It appears 35-plus workers’ lives are a commodity that is easily dispensable through intimidation and lies. To us, this is tantamount to Massa controlling their plantation. It will be extremely important for this company to remember that in this country, “Massa day done,” JTUM said.

“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 Trinidad and Tobago.

“Workers who are represented by a union cannot be barred from speaking to their Recognised Majority Union (RMU). 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.”

The joint movement said it believes that the lives of workers on an offshore rig are continuously at risk.

“It is, therefore, heart-wrenching that a company such as Perenco is okay with adding additional risk to their lives. The fact is COVID-19 is a serious pandemic that continues to have a vast negative impact on the world. Therefore, by this company’s blatantly choosing to play mind games to cover-up a clear mismanagement is extremely dangerous.”

JTUM assured that it stands in solidarity with the workers’ representing union – the Banking, Insurance and General Workers’ Union, who is a member of JTUM and called on Perenco to treat workers with respect and cease their shameful attack on their lives.