US-based Trinidadian author Nathalie Taghaboni, right, recently returned home to launch her latest book, Side By Side We Stand.
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CWU steps in to help Cariflex workers
President of the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU)Joseph Remy said he strongly believes employers are using the current economic downturn in the economy to treat their workers badly.
He was commenting on the situation at Cariflex (1994) Limited, the country’s largest printing and packaging company, where workers reporting for duty on Tuesday were met with a padlocked gate and guard dogs at the O’Meara Road, Arima, facility Remy said some of the workers have approached the CWU for help.
“The union will soon write to the employer requesting an urgent meeting because the workers are in the dark as to what is happening there and their job statuses. Some of them have worked there for 33 years and they ought to be given fair treatment by the employer,” he said.
“What these workers are faced with is very harsh and oppressive and it is a matter that will be picked up with the company and if if doesn’t go well at that level it will be then taken to the court.”
The employees said they had heard reports that the company was on the brink of closing down. They also claimed that there health and safety issues at the plant and that some them were owed outstanding salaries for as much as four months.
Cariflex’s owner and chief executive officer, Victor Sooknarine comfirmed that operations at the plant had ceased but blamed it on a burglary that left the building without electricity. He also said that for the past two to three months, Cariflex has been affected by other major problems, including no water, low voltage, staff depletion and health and safety issues.
Sooknarine said efforts are being made to join forces with other companies locally and in Latin America to target new markets and boost production.
Sooknarine inherited Cariflex, when his father, Harry, the founder and governing director of Cariflex and Harricrete Limited, passed away in 2010.