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Job descriptions spark TCL protest
Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) workers staged an early morning protest outside the Claxton Bay plant yesterday during which they accused parent company, Mexican multinational Cemex, of disrespecting T&T’s industrial relations laws and practices.
Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) branch president Ahmad Mohammed said the protest was sparked by the company’s decision to arbitrarily change workers’ job descriptions retroactively.
“This is a fundamental breach of industrial relations, in particular in the workplace where there is a memorandum of agreement. The union never engaged in any discussion, negotiation and never agreed to change our collective agreement.
“Such change is not only illegal, but it is a fundamental breach of industrial relations practices,” he said.
“These changes were presented in a document that was being reviewed for signing off for the periods 2009-2012 and 2012-14. In reviewing those documents, we realised that they have made those changes to the particular articles within,” Mohammed said.
An agreement for the bargaining period 2014 to 2017 is yet to be finalised and the existing agreement covers 2009-2014.
In recent weeks workers have been staging frequent protests outside the company’s compound. Industrial unrest has been brewing over the planned retrenchment of more than 100 workers.
“What we think has changed is that the owners of the company, which is Cemex Global, have a different premise or lack the appreciation of IR practices and are blatantly breaching our laws. In some instances, they are telling untruths in terms of the terms and conditions of employment and unilaterally making changes, verbally and in writing. We are seeing variances in about four iterations of JDs, so it seems that every manager who assumes duty, and most of these managers are non-nationals coming from Cemex, are unilaterally changing these jobs.”
Officials of TCL did not respond to calls and emails for comments on the situation.
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