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TCL remains mum on job cuts

Published: 
Saturday, February 10, 2018
Members of TCL management,from left, GM Rodolfo Marinez, Group Operations Manager Miguel Estrada and Labour Relations Co-ordinator Dalia Alibey, arrive at OWTU Paramount building to discuss the signing of an MOA between the two parties yesterday.

Executives of Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) yesterday declined to answer questions on impending job cuts as they met with officials of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union to discuss the signing of an outstanding Memorandum of Agreement.

The meeting was held at the OWTU’s headquarters in San Fernando at 9 am. Among those attending were general manager of TCL Rodolfo Martinez, group operations manager Miguel Estrada, labour relations coordinator Dalia Alibey and human resource manager Bonnie Alexis.

Both Estrada and Martinez said they had “no comment” when broached by reporters yesterday.

The TCL workers have been engaged in several rounds of protests. The workers say they have been working on 2011 salaries and TCL’s management are not making good on its promise to close off negotiations by signing the MOA.

In an interview, OWTU’s branch president Ahmad Mohammed said the union has received notice from the company of redundancies which means planned job cuts.

Saying the company wanted to retrench 100 out of TCL’s 282 workers, Mohammed said they were looking forward to sorting out outstanding issues with was causing concerns among workers.

Noting that the MOA was long standing and overdue, Mohammed said it covers the period 2009 to 2014.

“The MOA deals with a variance of a court award that would have been given to TCL workers so this would have been done as a sacrifice on the part of workers towards the sustainability and survivability of TCL,” Mohammed said.

Saying the workers were now facing new threats, Mohammed explained, “TCL is not being proactive by partnering with workers and the union.”

“What the union is asking for is to essentially have full resolution and sign off what would have been proposed by the new management team led by the then chairman back in 2014 which was a nine per cent roll over into wage increases. What the union is again continuing to do is make a further compromise on a gain sharing clause which is enacted in our collective agreement which entitles to workers to a 25-plus per cent increase based on performance variance from 2012 to 2013,” he explained.

Mohammed said the workers were looking forward to a signing off of the MOA.

He also expressed concerns that said foreign nationals were being hired by the company as opposed to local workers.

“One of the other concerns as well is, the workers as well and our country are faced with is, CEMEX is actually attaining work permits for non-nationals, people from Colombia, people from Mexico, people from Spain from Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and so on from within the CEMEX group and they are coming here and holding jobs of which no special expertise is not available locally,” he added.

The meeting was not open to the media and the OWTU said it will issue another statement soon.

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