Building workers on strike in Trinidad

Contract workers hired for the construction of the continuous catalytic reactor (CCR) and the alti-acid plants at Petrotrin, Pointe-a-Pierre, yesterday downed tools for the second time in three days.

Submitted by Ed on October 2, 2008

On Saturday, the workers at the CCR plant walked off the site in protest against what they described as unfair treatment of women employees by management.

Korean company Samsung is one of the main contractors on both projects. According to Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union’s branch secretary Shaffick Hyatali, a Korean supervisor, physically and verbally abused women employees. The most recent incident, he said, occurred last Thursday when the supervisor slapped one of the women.

Hyatali said yesterday’s work stoppage resulted from the company’s reneging on an agreement to pay the workers for the hours lost when they walked off the job on Saturday.

Hyatali said when workers reported for duty yesterday, they learnt that management had reneged on their word and they would not be paid for the day. Hyatali said: “Hundreds of workers not working because of management. They told us they would still pay workers because of the incident that had occurred, and now they are saying something else.”

Meanwhile, workers on the alti-acid plant downed tools to protest poor health and safety conditions. Hyatali said: “First of all, those workers do not have adequate toilet facilities. There are five stalls for the hundreds of male and female workers. It is insufficient.

He said the lunchroom is caked with dust. “It is like a pig pen and dust blows in when the people are trying to have their lunch,” he said.