Workers of Trinidad Cement Ltd

placard protest: Workers of Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) stage a demonstration outside the company’s Claxton Bay facility yesterday to highlight delays in updating COLA payments as well as pension issues.

—Photo: Dexter Philip

Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) workers yesterday expressed frustration as they held a placard protest outside the company’s Claxton Bay compound yesterday.

They claim they are being disrespected by the company’s management.

Oilfield Worker’s Trade Union (OWTU) branch president, Kevin Arjoon said, “The frustration is caused mainly by the lack of respect and also the lack of payment for close to eight years. No payment of COLA (Cost of Living Allowance) has been made. They’re not honouring the collective agreement by paying the gain share so they are breaching the collective agreement. They are unilaterally interfering with people’s pension plans and they have incorrectly calculated people’s pension.”

He explained that hundreds of workers have been affected including retirees who worked with the company for over 40 years, present hourly rated and casual employees and junior and senior staff.

Arjoon said the last time management met with the union representatives was on March 31.

“We have been waiting on some documents so we can proceed with the negotiations. We are waiting on some financial documents that we have not been furnished with since March 31.”

He added that these documents were received in the past.

“Everything that we benefit from is based on these financials. For the unions to calculate workers’ money properly, the financials need to be given to us, as they’re customarily given to us...Over the past three months we had about eight deaths to the TCL family. Workers who have died and not received their money,” Arjoon said.

He added that during the Covid-19 pandemic, operations continued at the plant.

“The workers came out, braved that period of time and we continued working and producing. So during the Covid period, the company would have made a significant amount of money. To have us outside like this is not right.”

Employee Akini Solomon said that while they are being told there is no money, expensive vehicles are being seen and expensive parties are being held.

“Is it that the company’s giving away free vehicles? The hotels having free parties? No, they playing with our monies and we are fed up,” said Solomon.

Workers added that protest action will continue even as Arjoon said they are awaiting a meeting with company officials.

“We’re hoping that the management is responsible enough to meet with us and sort out these issues, bring these things to a close, give us the financials, allow the union to do what the union has to do and bring settlement to these workers. It’s too long, eight years.”

The Express sent a message to an official from the company’s communication department yesterday requesting a comment. No response was received.

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