OWTU still fighting for TCL retirees’ payments

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Mexican cement producer Cemex is the majority owner of Trinidad Cement Ltd in Claxton Bay. – LINCOLN HOLDER

THE Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) is continuing its efforts to encourage Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) and the company’s majority shareholder, Mexican cement company Cemex, to pay outstanding money owed to TCL retirees.

OWTU representative Learie Mike reiterated this call during a small protest by the union outside TCL’s plant in Claxton Bay on Monday.

Mike said after six years of protests on behalf of the retirees, TCL and Cemex are yet to address the issue.

“We tried to get people to come out and do it the honest and legal way.”

He said the OWTU met with TCL last month for an update on the payment, but no progress was made at that meeting.

Mike reiterated the union’s call for the company to pay the money owed to the retirees.

During a protest at the same venue last February, OWTU president-general Ancel Roget said the payment to the retirees was covered in three collective bargaining periods, 2015-2018, 2018 -2021, and 2021-2024.

He said the money owed included the cost of living allowance (COLA), gain-sharing and back pay, all based on clauses in the collective agreement.

“They are refusing to make those payments.

“We are not talking about new money. We are talking about money that was already earned by people who would have exited the company on the basis of retirement. Retirees are being denied their money,” Roget said. “We are demanding that Cemex be respectful and pay those retirees who contributed to the profitability of the company during their working years.”

Mike claimed some retirees have died without receiving their payments and others have fallen ill.

He said, “Not everybody has the same tolerance level, and people might start to get on bad.”

Mike reminded TCL that God exists.

“There is a God above, and what you don’t like for yourself, don’t give it to others.”

TCL officials were unavailable for comment.