Tuesday 18 September, 2018

TCL workers protest; union claims scores of workers to be retrenched

Scores of workers of the Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) staged an early morning protest over what they claim are plans by the company to retrench workers.

Ahmad Mohammed, Branch President of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) said the union has received notice from the company of redundancies.

“We are essentially protesting this morning to highlight the antagonistic treatment that is being meted out to TCL workers by our new company’s management, which is the global cement giant, CEMEX. What they would have done is sent notices to the union of redundancies plus retrenchments of workers,” Mohammed explained.

The OWTU branch president said scores of workers are expected to be retrenched.

“In the first instance, they are looking at about two just two scores of people, but they would have indicated verbally at our last meeting in November that they wish to reduce our headcount by about 80 to 100 workers out if the 282 workers we currently have,” he said.

Mohammed said they are incensed by the manner in which things are happening.

“The company is not meeting with the recognised majority union. What they are doing instead is they are unilaterally signing off documents, namely our memorandum of agreement from 2014 which has outstanding items, one of them which is rate adjustments,” he added.

The OWTU branch president said workers are still working for 2011 rates.

He said with this threat of retrenchments, workers will be going home with a 5-year-old rate.

Mohammed said the workers of the Trinidad Cement Limited are also concerned about the issue of foreign nationals being hired by the company as opposed to local workers.

“One of the other concerns as well is, the workers as well and our country are faced with is, CEMEX is actually attaining work permits for non-nationals, people from Colombia, people from Mexico, people from Spain from Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and so on from within the CEMEX group and they are coming here and holding jobs of which no special expertise is not available locally,” the OWTU branch president.

He said workers will stage another protest next Wednesday.

Mohammed said workers will continue to protest until their concerns are addressed.

TCL has not yet responded to the action taken by workers.