It is disappointing in the extreme that Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) and the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) have been unable to come to an agreement and OWTU has called a strike that may well signal the end for TCL.
It is common knowledge that TCL is in deep financial trouble and has made significant losses over the last two years.
It is common knowledge that TCL cannot pay its bankers and creditors and has been trying to obtain concessions by renegotiating its debt. It is also widely believed TCL employees are already well paid and the current offer is generous, given the financial conditions.
In such circumstances a strike may push TCL over the edge as I can see some bankers and creditors unwilling to help people who will not help themselves. If all the employees lose their jobs it will be said they brought it on themselves.
The business community will not shed a tear because TCL is a high-cost producer and this would be the perfect excuse to open the market for low-cost imports as there is a global surplus of cement. Only in T&T are unions immune to the public interest.