Dock workers want meeting with company over low wages, poor conditions

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Worker for National Marine Maintenance Services Co Ltd Huewin Charles, second from right, speaks with Newsday during a protest at the Chaguaramas dock over poor working conditions and low wages on Thursday. – Shane Superville

Over 20 workers from the National Marine and Maintenance Services Co Ltd (formerly CL Marine Ltd) staged a protest at the entrance of the Caribbean Dockyard and Engineering Services Ltd, Chaguaramas, over poor working conditions on Thursday.

The workers held a protest on Wednesday demanding a meeting with management, raising concerns about poor safety practices and dilapidated facilities on the docks.

Speaking with reporters at the protest, worker Huewin Charles said despite repeated attempts to meet and discuss the issues with management, they were no closer to resolving their problems.

In a media release in 2020 the government announced it had acquired CL Marine Ltd and its subsidiaries.

Charles said while the management of the company has changed, workers continue to face problems of health and safety.

“From the time Clico left the company, every time we go to management, they keep telling us they have to go back to the board.

Workers from the National Marine and Maintenance Services Co Ltd (formerly CL Marine) protest poor working conditions and low wages during a demonstration at the company’s Chaguaramas dock on Thursday. – Shane Superville

“Different managements coming in and it’s the same complaints we make right through.

“We have a rat infestation, pigeon droppings, no proper lunch room, a leaking roof, toilets need fixing.

“The roads the equipment is operating on are terrible, it’s destroying the equipment. And all how we complain and ask, management isn’t doing anything.”

He said workers also hoped a salary increase could be addressed as they have paid the same salaries since 2006.

Charles said workers were mindful of public health protocols and offered to meet with management via a Zoom meeting last June but did not receive a response.

He said workers were prepared to continue protests for as long as possible until someone met with them.

Newsday tried to contact the National Marine and Maintenance Services Co Ltd for a response but was unsuccessful.