Over the past few days there has been a lot of commentary in the press, on social media and amongst the public on the current wage rates at Petrotrin. Given this discussion the Energy Chamber of Trinidad & Tobago thinks that it is important to provide factual information about the current wage rates at Petrotrin compared to the general rates prevalent in the energy sector.
Note that all the Petrotrin rates quoted here are the current rates: i.e. with the 0-0-0 offer for both collective bargaining periods, but with the COLA increases incorporated.
The base wage rates for labourers, craft-workers, tradesmen, technicians, supervisory and clerical level staff at Petrotrin are significantly higher than the average rates within the industry. In many cases, they are more than double the market rates.
At professional and management levels the base wage rates are closer to similar jobs in the rest of the industry and in the case of some more senior roles, lower than industry averages (though Petrotrin staff also tend to have generous benefit packages that can significantly increase their total compensation package).
The chart below compares the current wage rates with the average rates in energy service companies, based on a survey of seven major service companies (including both unionised and non-unionised companies). It should be noted that Petrotrin is the only major operator with these types of positions on staff; other operators contract out these activities to service companies.
The current rates at Petrotrin are significantly higher than the market rates. In many cases the Petrotrin rates are more than double the market rates. This is before any increases to Petrotrin rates.
It is important to note that the non-unionised service companies have to pay the Petrotrin rates whenever they are working on a project for Petrotrin. If they have an agreement with the OWTU, or a recognised majority union, they can pay their union rates.
At the professional and managerial levels the comparator companies for Petrotrin employees would be the other operator companies, including the major multi-nationals and other state-owned companies like the NGC. The Energy Chamber has access to a survey comparing the rates in Petrotrin and other operator companies. This shows that at the supervisory and professional level, Petrotrin rates are typically higher than the other major oil, gas and petrochemical companies. However, at senior engineer levels and above Petrotrin rates are lower.