Incensed that Trinidad Cement Ltd’s (TCL) management failed to attend two previously scheduled meetings with their union, disgruntled workers marched defiantly to the company’s Claxton Bay administrative offices on Wednesday, demanding that managers meet with OWTU officers to discuss industrial-relations issues.
Meetings scheduled for Monday and Tuesday did not materialise. The main issues are redundancy and a 2014 memorandum of agreement (MOA) in which workers had agreed to give up a percentage of their earnings to ensure the company’s viability. However, the union alleges that was a temporary measure, but the company was using the MOA as a guide for the redundancy/ retrenchment packages offered to workers.
In an act of frustration yesterday, approximately 100 workers, who had assembled at the Claxton Bay plant just after 6 am, marched to the administrative offices to demand a meeting with company officials. OWTU (TCL branch) president Ahmad Mohammed said TCL’s general manager, after meeting with his management team, agreed to meet with the union at their Paramount Building, Circular Road headquarters, San Fernando tomorrow at 9 am.
“We made it very clear to them and workers expressed their frustration that all of our issues, our business need to be discussed with them, so they committed to meet with us on Friday,” Mohammed said. “On Monday and Tuesday, they didn’t show up at all. They would have sent a letter indicating they are only interested in meeting to discuss the redundancy and the redundancy only.”
Asked whether he was optimistic about Friday’s meeting, Mohammed said, “Well, we are hoping to get the ball rolling then and at least commence the resolution of outstanding issues.” The OWTU’s team is expected to be led by president general Ancel Roget and the company’s team is expected to include HR manager Bonnie Alexis.