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TCL workers up ante for backpay

Published: 
Friday, March 9, 2018
Trinidad Cement Limited workers protest outside the company’s Claxton Bay head office yesterday. PICTURE RISHI RAGOONATH

Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) workers were waiting with hope last evening for favourable news on backpay owed to them since 2014.

The Oilfields Workers Trade Union and the company were locked in talks at the company’s Claxton Bay head office as negotiations for the 2012-2014 period continued. However, OWTU branch president for TCL Ahmad Mohammed said the company had initially stated it needed 30 months to save enough money to settle its debt to the workers.

Ahead of yesterday’s meeting, workers crowded the main gates to show their support for the union, singing union songs and calling for managers who were recently brought in by TCL’s parent company, CEMEX, to leave.

“We expect to get from the company a response in terms of a proposal for the timely payout of a backpay owed to workers so that workers will know for sure when they are going to be receiving their outstanding money for the period 2012 to 2014 and the implementation in terms of their new rates of pay,” Mohammed said.

“On the last occasion, we really did not get proposal from the company. The company made mention of some 30-month period it would take before them to really save the money to pay workers their backpay. It is unreasonable to really frivolous to come to the union with any such idea that workers will be willing to wait for an additional two and a half year or 30 months to receive their back pay money.”

He added: “There is a talk of impending changes at the company, but we need to fix urgent issues now.”

Mohammed said morale at the company was low, as there was a transition between the old TCL that was managed locally to the new CEMEX style, which has so far brought plans of retrenchment and unilateral changes to workers’ terms and conditions of employment.

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