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Petrotrin, OWTU and the Nation: Narrating and Negotiating Oil in an Industrial Conflict Complex
Media coverage of conflict and negotiation has the potential to frame, shape, and capture and influence the processes and outcomes of the interactions among parties. In a complex-conflict scenario, studying narratives of the conflict and negotiation processes and outcomes offer opportunities for re-examining the nature of complex conflicts, the life cycle of news coverage, and turning and settling points. When Petrotrin, a state-owned oil company in Trinidad and Tobago announced its closure in August 2018, several responses in the media reflected and generated conflict between the unprofitable company and the government balancing funding the company and securing the national interest, and the Oilfields Workers Trade Union representing workers’ interests and the national patrimony in an industry with a 100-year history. Adopting a content-analytical approach of media coverage, this paper explores the emergent narratives and examines their relationship to the negotiation processes and outcomes in an industrial complex conflict management context.