Thursday, January 18, 2018

TCL strike should be sent to court, says ECA

The ongoing strike action at the Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) should be referred to the Industrial Court, according to the Employers' Consultative Association (ECA).

In a release to the press yesterday, the ECA stated that strike/lockout action at the cement manufacturing company will not advance the cause for social and economic progress especially in these fragile economic times.

It added that the strike action has negatively impacted key stakeholders of the nation crippling the operations of many companies in the building and construction sector, not just TCL.

The ECA noted that Labour Minister Errol McLeod has declined to apply to the Industrial Court for an ex parte injunction thus far which could have had the effect of stopping the strike action.

The ECA pointed out that section 61 (c) of the Industrial Relations Act Chapter 88:01—any action of the Minister is wholly dependent on the parties to the dispute.

"It is in this context that we strongly believe that any resolution to this current impasse would require both parties agreeing to refer the matter as an unresolved dispute to the court consistent with Section 61 (c) of the Industrial Relations Act Chapter 88:01," stated the ECA.

"The ECA is of the view that the modernisation of the legal framework of the Industrial Relations system has become even more urgent if the Industrial Relations system is to become relevant to the changes in work life and modern human resource management practices and technological advancement which supports economic stability and measured growth," the release added.

TCL workers at both the Claxton Bay and Mayo plants have been on the picket line since February 27, after negotiations between their union, the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union and the company broke down.