TCL withdraws offer following more attacks on workers
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Friday March 23, 2012 – There is still no end to the impasse between the Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) and the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU).
In fact the situation between the two sides appears to be worsening despite interventions from Labour Minister, Mr. Errol McLeod on Wednesday.
During that meeting Mr. McLeod instructed the two sides to review their positions and return to the bargaining table today to bring an end to the near month-long strike. TCL had increased its offer to seven per cent, but the union remained adamant that it would accept nothing less than 12 per cent.
But TCL’s general manager, Mr. Satnarine Bachew has since made it clear that he will not be attending any reconciliation meeting today, and has also withdrawn the TCL’s offer following what he described as a dramatic escalation in attacks from the OWTU.
Over the weekend, TCL staff were attacked while leaving the cement plant and at their homes.
However, Mr. Bachew said these attacks worsened Wednesday night, with tyres being burnt at the TCL entrance, and those who tried to enter the compound being intimidated.
He added that the company’s efforts to deal with the matter were constantly met with aggression towards management and staff who returned to work after accepting the company’s individual contracts.
The company has further stated that while it was willing to meet with Mr. McLeod, it would not agree to any meetings with the OWTU executive until they show they can control their members.
Meanwhile the OWTU has continued to deny allegations of any involvement in attacks against TCL workers.
The OWTU has launched what is expected to be 90 days of strike action against the TCL after wage talks broke down last month. Since then, 160 workers returned to work after accepting individual offers made by TCL.