Home / View Point / Labour / Kangalee: What ESOP offer? Dr Rowley offered ‘ghost shares’ to ‘ghost workers’ at Heritage

Kangalee: What ESOP offer? Dr Rowley offered ‘ghost shares’ to ‘ghost workers’ at Heritage

“[…] Heritage is not a publicly traded company, so how can shares be offered to employees? The share offering Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley referred to with FCB is different, in that FCB is traded on the stock exchange.

“Even if Heritage was a publicly traded company, there is no recognised majority union at the company so how could he propose such to the OWTU who do not represent the Heritage workers?”

In the following Letter to the Editor, National Workers Union (NWU) education and research editor Gerry Kangalee responds to a claim by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley as regards a stock offering to outgoing Petrotrin workers at the Heritage Petroleum Company:

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley visits a Udecott project site.
(via OPM)

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says he was prepared to offer shares through an Employees Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) to the tune of 20% of the shares of Heritage to the ‘500 workers’ of Heritage. Ancel Roget, he said, refused the offer.

I am a bit confused. What shares is he talking about? 

Heritage is not a publicly traded company, so how can shares be offered to employees? The share offering he referred to with FCB is different, in that FCB is traded on the stock exchange.

Even if Heritage was a publicly traded company, there is no recognised majority union at the company so how could he propose such to the OWTU who do not represent the Heritage workers?

The PM also claimed that Heritage has 500 workers. These are the workers who, I assume, the PM was referring to when he claimed that he made his proposal.

Photo: Petrotrin workers listen to union representatives.
(via OWTU)

The truth is that Heritage hardly employs labour directly. When you see workers in a Heritage coverall, they are most likely employed with a contractor which supplies labour to the company and are paid rates way below what Petrotrin workers used to enjoy. These workers are referred to as contractor equivalents and include administrative and supervisory personnel.

These contractors include the Kenson Group, owned by Kenneth Ferguson, a former PNM mayor of San Fernando. The company’s website claims it provides ‘highly skilled services through our competent and experienced workforce’, which is just a fancy way of saying it is a labour supply contractor.

Other contractors include IAL Engineering Services, IOCL, and Well Services. 

So who were these workers to whom the Prime Minister offered these non-existent shares? It seems the Prime Minister offered ghost shares to ghost workers.

Photo: Prominent trade unionists Ancel Roget (left) and David Abdulah celebrate their brotherhood.

Editor’s Note: According to a Trinidad Guardian report, an excerpt from a statement made by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley  read: “[…] I as Prime Minister was prepared then to offer as much and to encourage the Cabinet to offer them up to 20 per cent of the new company. 

“Had they accepted that offer, they would have been owners of 20 per cent of that $3.6 billion, but they had no faith, no confidence, and as a result of that, their leaders led them away…”

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  1. As usual, a trade unionist talking out of ignorance. A company does not need to be a publicly traded company in order to issue shares to its employees via an employee profit-sharing plan.

    Do these unionists seek expert advice on matters or do they just comment based on their limited understanding of an issue or rather, how only they can perceive it should work?

    Most of the hardships that unionized workers face, unfortunately, are directly and indirectly a result of their blind following of these union leaders who have monumentally failed in executing their functions but have succeeded extremely in leeching off the dues of their members.