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Mc Leod talks stall: No conciliation as TCL holds to initial offer
Officials of Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) met with Labour Minister Errol Mc Leod for another round of conciliation on Tuesday, but failed to reach an agreement. In an interview yesterday, the company’s general manager Satnarine Bachew said TCL did not bring an improved offer to the conciliation table.
“Little progress was made and a date for a further meeting was not yet scheduled,” Bachew said. He explained that TCL’s initial offer of 6.5 per cent remained. He said the company could not afford to accede to the 12 per cent demand of the OWTU because of the economic climate.
Bachew said another round of talks would take place between the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) and the Minister soon. Asked whether he was disappointed that Mc Leod had opted not to send the matter before the Industrial Court, Bachew said: “Not at all. The Minister is abiding by the Industrial Relations Act.”
Meanwhile, Bachew revealed that TCL had succeeded in starting up the packing plant. “Production is going on, the cement mill is producing and we are packing cement,” Bachew said. He explained that a shipment of 2,000 tonnes of cement would arrive on Saturday from Barbados.
This will be retailed on the local market. He confirmed that the price of cement has increased by $13 per bag, as a result of port duties and charges from Customs. Bachew also denied that two officials of Mexican cement giant Cemex were in T&T and were holding discussions with TCL.
“This information is erroneous. Two new directors are coming onto the parent board as an outcome to debt refinancing, but there are no Cemex officials here,” Bachew said. He added that the directors had already visited the other islands and were being oriented.
Bachew also noted that there were no further acts of violence on workers. He said more striking workers were returning to work. Both Mc Leod and president general of OWTU Ancel Roget could not be reached for comment yesterday as calls to their cellular phones went unanswered.
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