The Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) has been accused of making sinister moves, after retrenching 12 permanent workers today.
At a press conference this morning at the TCL car park in Claxton Bay, chief labour relations officer for the Oilfield Workers Trade Union, (OWTU), Lindon Mendoza said the company claimed the move was necessary due to surplus labour, but he said the company is on a drive to retrench permanent workers and hire contract workers.
The OWTU was served with a notice on January 6th and has since written to the company requesting a meeting on Friday but so far, the company has not responded.
Mendoza said although TCL is a local company, it has foreign management and foreign ownership in control of the assets and operation and “What they are doing is that they are disrespecting the laws of Trinidad and Tobago, and the workers—and by extension, the union, OWTU.”
He said retrenchment is an exercise that a company could engage in if there is surplus labour. But he said TCL’s management cannot substantiate a claim of surplus labour, given that there are several vacancies.
Mendoza added: “We are saying this morning that that is wrong, it is morally wrong, and it is unlawful to do so, because the Retrenchment and Severance Benefits Act clearly states that the only reason or the only criteria a company can use to initiate a retrenchment exercise is surplus labour. We are saying that the company does not have surplus labour at this time and therefore, they cannot institute a retrenchment exercise.”
If there is no resolution, the union intends to file trade disputes with the minister.