TCL withdraws Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union injunction

TCL withdraws Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union injunction
Published: 14 December 2011

In a victory for the union, Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) and its subsidiary, TCL Packaging Limited, withdrew its application to continue an injunction against the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) yesterday. Both parties are engaged in bargaining for collective agreements. The company also withdrew its application to pursue an industrial relations offence by the union, following a situation last Friday where workers downed their tools, stopping the company’s operations. The companies were granted an ex-parte injunction against protesting workers on Friday. The matter was before Industrial Court judges Vernon Ashby and D Rambally.

Senior Counsel representing the companies, Seenath Jairam, sought to get a continuation of the injunction and stated the companies intention to apply for decertification of the union. However Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes argued that there was no evidence that the union committed an industrial relations offence. “There is evidence that the workers put down their tools and did not work.There is no evidence the union committed industrial action,” Mendes argued. He cited that in the application for the injunction Jairam had referred to the action as a wildcat strike.

He said the definition of a wildcat strike was one in which there was no union involvement. At this point Rambally commented that both parties could focus their energy on returning to the bargaining table and engaging in something more resourceful. He then gave both parties five minutes to discuss and find a resolution. When the judges returned Jairam announced TCL and TPL’s decision to withdraw its applications.