Centrin calls back laid-off employees
Workers at the Central Trinidad Steel Ltd (Centrin) were called back to work last Monday almost two months after were sent home by the company.
In June, Centrin's human resources officer Wayne Wong in a letter to the Steel Workers' Union of Trinidad and Tobago (SWUTT), stated that Centrin had too much steel product which could not be sold because of unfavourable market conditions.
The company indicated it would shut down operations for an initial period from June 18 to July 17. The period was extended to last Friday.
SWUTT representative Teemul Khan had said the workers were looking for a way to sustain their employment, and asked the company to rehire some 100 permanent and casual workers who were laid off.
He said the company refused, which led to several protests by the workers outside the company's gates at the Point Lisas Industrial Estate.
President of the union Lex Lovell said last Friday it was unfair for the workers to be working only when they were "needed" by the company. He said all the union wanted was guaranteed employment.
"They (Centrin) did a hush-hush thing and they called out the workers and they started back operations. They have not met officially with the union up to now. We have written them concerning it, we have never gotten a response up to now."
Lovell said, "The workers have produced as part of the company and now the company is saying they have too much of stock so they lay them off for that reason. I understand that now stocks have gone down. They have run out of particular building stocks so I hear they called back the workers to replenish the stocks. After that I don't know if they will lay them off again."
He said approximately 175 people were affected by the company's actions.
Centrin officials could not be contacted last Friday.