Disgruntled Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) workers intensified protest action by staging a noisy early morning placard demonstration outside of the company’s Claxton Bay plant yesterday.
From as early as 6.30am, workers weaved several placards on the fence outside of the plant before marching in a semicircle in front of the main gates. The workers, who are represented by the Oilfields Workers Trade Union, (OWTU) are accusing the company of reneging on a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) which stipulated that there would be the implementation of new rates for hourly rated workers by March 15 and for monthly rated staff on March 25.
OWTU (TCL) branch president Ahmad Mohammed said the company is also seeking to alter a consent order issued by the court which set out new job classifications for workers in two bargaining units- senior staff and confidential secretaries. “This morning we are here demonstrating our total dissatisfaction with the dishonest type of approach the company is imposing now on the workers of Trinidad Cement Limited. The union and the company would have signed off on a Memorandum of Agreement on February 19, compliance with such Memorandum of Agreement remains outstanding,” he said.
“At our last meeting, which was yesterday morning (Tuesday), the company would have come to the union with a new proposal where they would have made errors in the implementation of a court order back in 2016 and in terms of correcting such court order, they would have come with a new proposal which is at variance with the said court order,” he said.
He said the court order otherwise known as a consent order sought to implement a progressive system of job classification for two of the bargaining units- the senior staff and confidential secretaries.
“Senior staff and confidential secretaries were part of a court consent order which when implemented would have workers rise or progress through their position, instead of being a confidential secretary period, they would have like a tier one and a tier two, so instead of being capped, you would have room for progression,” he said.
“All of that the company is reneging on that consent order which we would have signed off on and that also has a cost component which was implemented since 2015,” he said.
He said the company has also signalled its intention to engage in a “rightsizing” exercise which would see approximately 100 workers being sent home.