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posted 2 Mar 2012, 12:19 by Gerry Kangalee

MEDIA RELEASE - 29 February 2012

Please see the letter below which was sent by the OWTU to the Barbados Workers Union, the National Union of Public Workers, both in Barbados, and the National Workers Union of Jamaica, with respect to the strike currently underway at TCL. These unions represent workers at the Arawak (Barbados) and Carib Cement (Jamaica) plants - subsidiaries of the TCL Group.

Workers at Trinidad Cement Limited Take Strike Action

As you may be aware, the workers at Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL), represented by the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union took strike action at the Company effective, Monday February 27, 2011. Some 600 workers walked off the job at 11:00am, upon the delivery of strike notice by the OWTU, led by acting President General, Carton Gibson. This strike action has shut down TCL’s operations at Claxton Bay and at the quarry in Mayo. The OWTU is the Recognized Majority Union for all the workers employed by TCL and the bargaining units involved in the current strike are as follows:

- Hourly/weekly paid

- Monthly Paid Junior Staff

- Monthly Paid Senior Staff

- Confidential Secretaries

In addition, the hourly/weekly paid workers at TCL Packaging Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of TCL are also represented by the OWTU and have also taken strike action.

The strike currently underway by the TCL workers comes after a breakdown in negotiations. The Company has made an offer of a 6.5%wage increase over the three year period. The Union is not prepared to accept this and is seeking a 16% increase.

As the representing union at the TCL Group of Comapnies subsidiary in Barbados/Jamaica we consider it important that are you are fully aware of this recent development here in Trinidad and Tobago. We are requesting your solidarity as workers here embark on this important struggle. In particular, it is to be noted that the TCL General Manager, Satnarine Bachew has stated categorically that efforts would be made to supplement the supply of cement to the Trinidad and Tobago market with product from the Arawak plant in Barbados and/or the Carib Cement plant in Jamaica.
It is in this context that we ask you, our colleague union to stand in solidarity with us and ensure that your members are not used to undermine the strike action being undertaken here in Trinidad and Tobago by the OWTU. Specifically, it would be of importance to our struggle if no cement comes from Barbados or Jamaica to Trinidad during the period of the strike.

We look forward to your full support as we continue to work together towards the defense and protection of the interests of working people across the Caribbean region. It must be noted that this struggle is not only important to TCL workers here in Trinidad and Tobago, but to all workers in the TCL group. As we did with our united struggle against Cemex, workers solidarity across the Caribbean can result in victory.

Oilfields Workers' Trade Union