As we continue to navigate this period of economic uncertainty and the resultant declines in Government revenue and availability of jobs, the Employers Consultative Association of Trinidad and Tobago (ECA) finds it unfortunate, at the very least, that Trinidad and Tobago will not be benefitting from the local construction of bpTT’s Angelin platform.

A project of this magnitude, worth approximately two billion US dollars, is exactly what is needed to inject the necessary boost into an otherwise relatively stagnant economy. More importantly, the loss of income to potential workers and their families, contractors, manufacturers, other service providers, the resultant ripple effect on the economy, and income to the Government’s coffers represents a significant loss for which there seems to be no apparent alternative.

This decision by bpTT is not surprising though, and understandable given the reasons articulated. The regularity of industrial action, work stoppages, and other social unrest the company would have experienced during construction of the Juniper platform were identified as significant contributors to the delay in project deadlines. It should therefore come as no surprise that this company, or any company for that matter, would implement strategies to mitigate reoccurrence of these very real risks.

The ECA has repeatedly and publicly shared its concerns relating to productivity and how much our inability to realise productivity is impeding business growth, foreign investment, our ability to compete in a global market, and our overall standard of living. The latest drop by T&T in the rankings of the Global Competiveness index is evidence of this. While the platform continues to burn, one can reasonably conclude that parties to the Tripartite process do not possess the will to come to the table with a true spirit of compromise driven by a shared understanding of the absolute need to put country first.  Until and unless parties are willing to commit to placing country first through the process of honest conversations, the ECA is of the view that the antagonistic industrial relations climate will continue.

Moreover, we simply cannot afford the cost of this continued hostility and non-cooperation among labour and employers in industrial relations matters as it is severely hurting our country and our future!

The ECA is calling on all parties involved in the tripartite process, and in particular labour’s representatives in the specific circumstances under discussion, to ponder deeply on the detrimental impact of decisions related to the incidence of workplace disruptions and loss of productivity. We absolutely must consider the big picture and allow our actions to reflect this if we are genuinely concerned about turning around the fortunes of our beloved nation of Trinidad and Tobago.


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