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posted 10 Oct 2017, 23:26 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 15 Oct 2017, 17:21 ]
Image result for trinidad cement ltdOn Monday October 9th 2017, the Human Resources Department of Trinidad CementImage result for cemex Ltd. (TCL) circulated a memorandum to TCL employees in T&T (members of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union) offering VSEP to all employees of its bargaining units, beginning on the date the circular bore. TCL is owned by transnational, Mexican-based Cemex, one of the largest cement companies in the world.

In addition, the circular had attached an application form for those who chose to accept the VSEP to be filled out and returned to the Human Resources Department by October 23rd. 



Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL), TCL Packaging Limited (TPL – joint venture with Dipeco of Switzerland), TCL Ponsa Manufacturing Limited (TPM – joint venture with Industrias Ponsa of Spain), Readymix (West Indies) Limited (RML).


Arawak Cement Company Limited (ACCL)


Caribbean Cement Company Limited (CCCL)


TCL Trading Company Limited (TTL)


TCL Guyana Inc (TGI)
he TCL Group is the only manufacturer of Cement in the English-speaking Caribbean and consists of eight (8) operating companies in Trinidad, Barbados, Jamaica, Anguilla and Guyana. It is involved in the manufacture and sale of bulk and bagged cement, and in packaging and premixed concrete. 

Both Caribbean Cement Company, based in Jamaica and Arawak, based in Barbados, manufacture cement while TGI based in Guyana is a bagging terminal. and claims to employ what it describes as 1,200 professionals and craftsmen along with 1,000 in with what it calls its “contingent labour force.” It is not clear whether workers outside of T&T would also be offered VSEP.

The application form specified that the company reserves the right to accept, reject or defer the
Rodolfo Martinez
application of any worker at its sole discretion. The company also circulated a letter its Mexican general manager Rodolfo Martinez wrote to Ancel Roget, the President General of the OWTU dated October 9th.

The letter stated that the company needed to reduce its cost of production which, it claimed, was affected by a decline in the demand for cement due to the downturn in the economy, primarily caused by low energy prices; the continuous imports and additional imports possibilities; and the continuing threat of TCL’s survivability, sustainability and profitability.

The letter also put forward what the company described as its “ best and final offer, i.e. 8 weeks pay for each year or service or part thereof at existing rates for all bargaining units.”

This slashing of jobs at TCL comes in the wake of the shutdown of Arcelor Mittal in 2016 and makes a mockery of the National Tripartite Advisory Council’s (NTAC) agreement to defer retrenchment to 2018, which, was a bizarre request made by the labour participants in the NTAC and was greeted as a great 
Wilfred Espinet
victory by Ancel Roget to the bemusement of many in the labour movement.

Interestingly, but certainly not co-incidentally, the Chairman of TCL Wilfred Espinet, who engineered the Cemex takeover of the company, is also the Chairman of Petrotrin, which is itself on the government’s chopping block under the guise of restructuring. Petrotrin workers (members of the OWTU) are looking on at the situation at TCL with great concern.

There is a widespread belief in industry circles that the reduction of jobs is the first phase of Cemex’s intention to shut down TCL’s manufacturing capability and turn the company into storage, re-export and possibly bagging enterprise. This belief stems from the surplus installed production capacity in the international cement industry in which Cemex is one of the major players and is, itself, in the midst of a re-structuring exercise. All eyes are now focussed on the OWTU.
Gerry Kangalee,
10 Oct 2017, 23:37
Gerry Kangalee,
15 Oct 2017, 17:20