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Injunction Lifted Against Trinidad And Tobago-owned Oil Refinery, Petrofin

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, October 11, 2018 (CMC) – A court-imposed injunction against the state-owned oil refinery, Petrotrin, that prevented the termination of five thousand employees, has been lifted.

Lawyers, representing Petrotrin, had filed an appeal against an injunction granted to the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) by the Industrial Court, earlier this week.

However, just after 11:30pm on Wednesday, Justice of Appeal, Charmaine Pemberton, delivered the ruling in favour of the company.

Based on the ruling ,Petrotrin is now free to resume the distribution of termination packages to workers, as it moves towards shutting down its operation by the end of next month. 

But the lifting of the injunction will only last until next Thursday, when the substantive appeal, over the actual granting of the injunction, comes up for hearing, before a three-judge Appeal Court panel.

The OWTU said it filed the injunction, preventing the company from sending home its workers, accusing it of breaching an industrial relations offence, outlined in the April 3, 2018, Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that outlined restructuring the company, over an 18-month period, and to form a working committee.

But in its notice of appeal, filed in the Court of Appeal late Tuesday, the lawyers, representing Petrotrin, outlined 15 grounds for challenging the Industrial Court ruling.

Petrotrin claimed that the Industrial Court had no jurisdiction to act, as the industrial relations offence complaint, filed by the union, is a criminal offence that does not lend itself to injunctive relief. The company also claimed that the Industrial Court erred when it ruled the company had a duty to consult with the union.

A hearing of the appeal of the injunction is set for next week.

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