bpTT retrenches first batch of workers

BPTT yesterday retrenched more than 40 workers in what is expected to an exercise in which close to 100 employees will be let go from the company this week.

Guardian Media has learnt that the first set of workers to get their pink slips were those involved in the production of the company’s gas and condensate and today, another set of workers will be sent home as part of bpTT’s restructuring plans.

The company insisted yesterday that it is doing its cuts in the most dignified way possible and offering assistance to those impacted by the retrenchment and restructuring.

“We are providing ongoing support to staff through our EAP provider and we are committed to managing these changes with the utmost respect, dignity and care for our employees,” bpTT said in a statement to Guardian Media.

This effectively means that scores of high-paying jobs in the local energy sector will be lost and is in keeping with what has been a brutal time for workers in the crucial sector.

Since 2018, thousands of jobs in the energy sector have been lost, from Petrotrin’s closure to the virtual decimation of many small and mid-sized service contractors to now, bpTT, the country’s largest energy producer.

For months, bpTT employees have been worried about whether they will lose their jobs and yesterday saw relief for those who are being kept on and sadness for the dozens sent home.

Guardian Media has been told that all departments will be impacted and at all levels, meaning that even some management positions will be made redundant.

Yesterday, the company was asked the following questions:

Can bpTT say how many people were retrenched from the production department today?

Can bpTT say how many people are going to lose their jobs by the end of the week?

What measures are in place to counsel those who are being sent home?

What kind of packages are those being retrenched receiving?

The company declined to give details, instead reminding that the retrenchment is part of its overall plan to restructure the company in keeping with the new direction of BP PLC, its parent company headquartered in the United Kingdom.

It said: “In February 2020, we launched our new purpose: to re-imagine energy for people and our planet and also announced a bold new ambition: to become a net-zero (GHG emission) company by 2050 or sooner, and to help the world get to net zero. On 8 June 2020, bp announced a global restructuring in service of achieving our new purpose and ambition. The challenges facing energy markets as a result of COVID-19 have since amplified the need for this restructuring which we believe will create a more focused, leaner and better-integrated energy company.”

According to the company, it had completed the first phase of the restructuring process in which it offered voluntary separation packages and was now into the next phase of sending people home and in some cases offering different positions.

“During that phase, staff members were given the opportunity to express their interest to leave bp on a voluntary basis. We are currently in the next phase of our restructuring process in which we are notifying employees about placement into roles in the redesigned organisation.”

The company said it is providing support to affected staff and as a result does not want to say much more on the issue.

“In service of this commitment, we are unable to divulge any other information regarding the restructuring,” bp TT said.

In a recent interview with Guardian Media, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley revealed that bpTT officials had told him the company would be cutting 25 per cent of its workforce. When asked about how COVID-19 had affected the economy, Rowley told of the impending job losses at the country’s largest natural gas producer.

“Many gas-based industries in Pt Lisas appear to have mothballed their plants. COVID has hit us hard, shrinking our economy by 10 per cent, even as we continue to support our hardest-hit citizens at a big cost. As an oil and gas producer, our production and sale of oil has dropped globally. COVID-19 came at a time when our oil and gas prices were already softening and had the effect of further reducing consumption of methanol, urea ammonia, LNG, oil and gas. It was a perfect storm. Some plants in Point Lisas have shut down,” Rowley said then.

“Just today, I was advised by BP Trinidad they are reducing their staff by 25 per cent. All gas and oil markets are experiencing the same thing due to reduced demand. Thousands of planes are on the ground, fewer cars are moving about.”

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