Despite the lack of consultation with the representative trade union, workers at TCL’s Claxton Bay plant have complied with the company’s introduction of mandatory breathalyser testing for workers before entry to its Claxton Bay and Mayo plants.
The mandatory testing was instituted on Monday and was met with resistance from the workers represented by the Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU).
In a telephone interview yesterday, branch president Ahmad Mohammad said workers were complying with the requirement because of the country’s prevailing economic situation.
“Because workers seemed to be very concerned and intimidated as well because of the situation given the whole scenario in the country at the moment, workers are complying in the interim, but the union is exercising its right as the recognised majority union to meet, and the company has agreed to meet with us early next week.
“So work continues as normal in the interim but we have told them we need to reconvene and really have the proper consultations on this policy before it can be implemented or rolled out in full.”
But in a media release, TCL expressed surprise by the union’s actions saying they had held discussions with the union on the breathalyser initiative “over several months dating back to December 2018.
“Employees were also adequately sensitised prior to the start of mandatory testing. Significantly, all officers charged with the responsibility of carrying out the testing have been certified to do so, following training on the simple, safe and pain-free procedure using hand-held breathalyser devices.”
TCL said the “protocol for a positive test result includes re-testing three times to verify proper breath sampsles were taken and that the I-blow equipment is functioning consistently.”
“If the result remains positive after a third test, the employee would not be allowed to enter the compound and sent home with full pay, expected to return to work on the next scheduled day.”
The regime also includes interventions by the company’s medical team including referral for treatment or counselling through TCL’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), TCL stated.
Human Resource manager, Bonnie Alexis said the safety of employees, contractors and visitors is of “major importance” to the company.
She said, “This is why we are continuously monitoring and improving our standards to remove health and safety risks such as the likely danger of alcohol at the workplace.
“Alcohol testing is a global best practice followed by large industrial facilities. TCL feels duty bound to have implemented this safety initiative and remains confident that the union will continue to co-operate with the organisation towards providing the safest work environment for our employees."