Amidst strike, cement firms demand security

Amidst strike, cement firms demand security
Published: 02 February 2006

Two cement companies Andino and Ideal Dominicana today protested to the authorities, amidst a four day shutdown of their facilities by a truckers’ union drivers, guarantees "to be able to work in a climate of legal security."

In an open letter to president Leonel Fernandez and Labor minister Jose Ramon Fadul, the companies stated that "we request and we expect the guarantee of the authorities to be able to work in a climate of legal security, social harmony, public order and respect to the integrity of our investments and the personnel under our employ."

The companies say that they are ready to engage in a dialog with the Carriers Union, that groups the truck owners "but only under the condition that all actions of pressure and blackmail against our companies stop,” adding that "our companies came to the country with the intention to remain. We confide in the Dominican future and we are determined to comprise it in a permanent, increasing and consistent way contributing to its economic and social development."

They affirmed that since last Thursday, despite being in talks with the proprietors of heavy vehicles that demand higher pay, "our companies have seen paralyzed in their activities."

The truck owners, advised by the Truckers Federation of the South decided "to arbitrarily, abusively and illegally block the access routes to our facilities in Cabo Rojo, neither allowing the workers entry to their normal jobs in our companies nor allowing the exit of the Colombian personnel which resides permanently in the same."

Cementos Andino and Ideal Dominicana said that that action has caused them economic damages, citing the case of a ship anchored in the port which had to load 30,000 tons of aggregates for Aruba, but which had to leave empty.

They said that another ship which was in Puerto Rico and had to arrive at Cabo Rojo for another load had to suspend its itinerary before the situation at hand. They also said that Colombian and Swiss advisors coming for the construction of a clinker factory had to suspend their trip.

"Our production is detained with the consequent economic damage as well as the involuntary breach of the delivery commitments of our clients’ orders," said their press release published in the local media.

"Those damages are also for Pedernales, Oviedo and other places in the region where most of the workers come from, more than 400 direct jobs and 200 indirect ones that we generated, with a monthly payroll of almost 10 million pesos and the significant acquisition that we do of local goods and services," said the companies. They also caution the situation could “reach the national exports and the international image of the country as a safe and reliable market for foreign investment."