Employees and ex-employees of Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) have been protesting over the past six weeks over the company’s non-payment of outstanding money owed to them.
Twice a week, permanent and casual workers, ex-workers and retirees have been marching in front of the Claxton Bay compound hoping to get management’s attention.
While the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union and management are expected to meet today to discuss the issue, workers said they decided to keep up the protest action because they had been given false promises too many times.
Retired permanent worker Learie Mike said the union took the matter to court in 2012 and won, but yet the company had not paid them.
Claiming that they were owned Cost of Living Allowance (COLA), Gainsharing and other payments, he recalled that back in 2012 the workers had a 90-day strike.
He said, “The company had made an agreement with the union that they going to take 20 per cent of the backpay from the casuals and the permanent workers to secure job security. It was said it was for job security and after that was paid the majority of casuals were sent home and today casuals still standing out here. (They) never got their 20 per cent that they took from them and they lost their job also.”
Saying that his faith had kept him strong, Mike complained that many of them had died and while their families would inherit the money, it was not fair to them (employees).
“I could remember a specific situation when I was speaking to a guy who work with me for 34 years and he was asking me when we will he get this money and that was just in December and the beginning of January he died from COVID so it is sad to think about somebody waiting for their money and they die and they can’t get their money and all these things have to rest on management shoulders,” he added.
He said he was hoping that today the company would be honest and tell the union whether payments would be made by the end of the year.
“They said they willing to pay in December (that) they have the money and then they renege on that again so we are just hoping for the best,” he said.
Another retiree, Kenrick Toppy, said he was tired of being given the run-around.
He said, “The company changing and this is the ending era of Trinidad Cement and the beginning of Trinidad Cemex and we still singing and dancing and nothing not happening. Tomorrow they say they having a meeting I hope tomorrow will be the end of everything,” he added.
Guardian Media reached out to TCL but up to late Tuesday there was no response.