Government to meet union on future of Lake Asphalt

Joseph Phillip, president general of the Contractors and General Workers Union.  PHOTO BY VIDYA THURAB
Joseph Phillip, president general of the Contractors and General Workers Union. PHOTO BY VIDYA THURAB

GOVERNMENT has agreed to meet with the Contractors and General Workers Trade Union (CGWTU) next week to discuss the future of Lake Asphalt.

President General of the union, Joseph Phillip who led his members in a noisy protest outside the La Brea plant two weeks ago amid reports the plant was facing closure, said high on their agenda for this meeting is job stability.

He said following the protest a call was received from the office of the Prime Minister committing to a meeting upon his return from Ghana sometime between next Monday and Friday.

In Dr Rowley’s delegation are his wife Sharon Rowley, Energy Minister Franklin Khan and National Security Minister Stuart Young.

Phillip recalled last year he wrote to Rowley about the worrying state of affairs at LATT and Rowley referred him to Khan.

He said Khan never replied to his correspondence but after the protest arrangements were made for a meeting.

Phillip said an uneasy calm has returned to Lake Asphalt after the Christopher John-Williams led board assured employees there was no impending closure of the company, nor any anticipated job loss. John-Williams said the necessary financial resources continued to be available and assured workers their salaries will be paid.

Phillip told the Newsday on Thursday, “since the company said it had money, we asked for several things to be rectified, including filling vacancies where people had retired and some gone medically unfit and upgrading certain positions in certain departments.

“They started that so there is a certain amount of calm for the time being, but we have not yet buried the hatchet.”

He said the union and workers are upbeat having received a commitment from Government for a meeting.

“Our main agenda is job security. We want to know where the company got the money to conduct this exercise if it is a government subvention and how long that would last."

Williams said the industry is changing and the company has to transform to meet the challenges, outlining several initiatives the board has taken including the expansion of the LASCO paint plant, from a pilot plant to a full scale production plant, the commercialising of the UWI licensed products (UWI Primer and UWI Plastic cement) and the patenting and pending production of Cold Milled TLA (CMTLA).

The third initiative he said, “will make our world-renowned Trinidad Lake Asphalt (TLA), mined from the Pitch Lake in La Brea, more user friendly, energy efficient, environmentally carbon neutral (compared with synthetic polymers) and less costly.”


"Government to meet union on future of Lake Asphalt"

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