TCL and Union impasse expected to head to court, Trinidad

TCL and Union impasse expected to head to court, Trinidad
Published: 28 May 2012


The industrial relations dispute between Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) and the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) is expected to go to the Industrial Court for a resolution.

The 90-day strike notices served on TCL and subsidiary Trinidad Packaging on 27 February has now expired.  Speaking to the Trinidad Express, OWTU branch president Lawrence Renaud said both parties would have seven days to refer the matter to the court. "When the matter goes to the Industrial Court all industrial action ceases and the workers have to go back to work. Whatever the court decides would be final," he said.

TCL's 600 workers walked out of the compound, following a breakdown in wage negotiations and constructed a makeshift camp outside the facilities in Claxton Bay and Mayo.

TCL general manager Satnarine Bachew said workers would have the option to return to work after the matter goes to the Industrial Court.

He said the plant was operating at capacity to supply its local market. "But when the workers return the shifts would return to normal and the plant would go back to normal operating hours," he said.

Local contractors were worried the strike would cripple the construction industry but TCL continued to supply the local market with bulk cement from its Claxton Bay facility. The company imported bagged cement from its subsidiaries in Barbados and Jamaica.

Last month, TCL production manager Keith Ramjitsingh said the company has ceased importation of cement, as the plants at Claxton Bay and Mayo were restarted. He said TCL had restarted its main production plant—producing enough cement to supply the local market.