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  • Keep TCL in Local Hands to Protect T&T and the Caribbean Region

     February 6, 2015



    Keep TCL in Local Hands to Protect T&T and the Caribbean Region


    The upcoming vote on the removal of the current 20% cap on share ownership by any one entity at TCL is crucial. If the current cap is removed the door would be opened for a company such as CEMEX to eventually attain majority share ownership in this local manufacturing company. In its own right the sale of local resources to foreign owners would have significant negative impacts for the local economy and by extension the Caribbean region. The OWTU’s position therefore is that this cap should not be removed so that our national resources are protected. However, the underlying reason for the current push to have the cap removed is of even greater concern.


    As is public knowledge, TCL has been facing severe financial difficulties in the recent past under the leadership of the former Group CEO Rollin Bertrand. As a result, the company has been seeking out financing and one of its major financers is now the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group. The removal of the 20% limit on share ownership is related to the loan conditionalities being imposed by the IFC on TCL. Opening the door for a foreign buyout will see Trinidad and Tobago suffering significant negative impacts. National ownership will be eroded, given TCL’s role as a regional player, the process of regional integration would also be affected, job cuts would be almost guaranteed and local stock market activity would be ultimately reduced. These issues are of no concern to the IFC, but must be of major concern to all Trinidad and Tobago citizens. Citizens therefore have a responsibility not to allow these negative outcomes to be realised.


    Given the significant potential impacts of the removal of the existing 20% limit, it is important to know what the policy position of the Trinidad and Tobago Government is on this issue. What is the policy position which will be guiding state enterprises with shares in TCL? Surely the government cannot be in support of such a move. 


    Furthermore, the international market for cement manufacturing is dominated by a few large companies, one of which is CEMEX. If TCL was to be acquired by CEMEX, this would lead to a further concentration of wealth into the hands of a few large multi-national firms.


    As explained above, it is in the best interest for Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean region for these assets to remain in local hands. Protecting the local manufacturing sector, promoting a vibrant stock exchange, protecting jobs and encouraging foreign exchange flows must not be trumped by the narrow interests of CEMEX and the IFC!


    Ozzi Warwick


    Chief Education and Research Officer

  • OWTU opposes Petrotrin docking West African vessel without using Proper Protocols

    On 21st October, 2014, OWTU alerted the media of Petrotrin’s attempt to dock a West African vessel  at the port of Pointe-a-Pierre without employing proper protocols. At a media conference held on the same day, the OWTU called on Petrotrin’s management to establish proper protocols and new clearance procedures, particularly in light of the global Ebola threat. President General Ancel Roget stressed that this is not an industrial relations matter but one of life and death. “We must do our utmost to protect the lives, the limbs and the wellbeing of citizens of our country!” PG Roget said.

  • JTUM calls for end to Precarious Work

    "The elements for which we have struggled so hard are undermined with contract work” said OWTU President General  Ancel Roget at the seminar entitled, “A of Action Day to Stop Precarious Work”. The seminar was held at Paramount Building, San Fernando on October 7th’ - World Day for Decent Work. Scores of trade union and credit union members participated at the seminar. This seminar was OWTU’s response to a call by its global union IndustriALL to host an activity to support the global campaign to end precarious work.

  • Hundreds of Officers and Shop Stewards Take Oath of Office

    The Oath of Office taken by officers annually and by shop stewards every two years signifies the commitment that comrades have made to the union, to the members who elected them and to the vision and mission of the OWTU.

    Hundreds of officers and shop stewards took the oath of office on Saturday 27th September 2014.

    “If we are to be in the Vanguard of that movement, the leadership of that movement then we have to be held and are held to a different standard of conduct,” Cde. David Abdulah, Installing Officer said.

    “Officers and shop stewards in taking the oath of office have to recognize that they are engaging upon a solemn, indeed  sacred, undertaking, to do the things that you are swearing to do and not to behave like the politicians in parliament who would swear to do one thing but then do the exact opposite,” Cde. Abdulah added.

  • OWTU Co-sponsors Armchair Discussion on “People Power and Constitution Reform”

    “Attempting to govern T&T in 2014 with the present Constitution is like trying to use one of our modern day ‘apps’ on an old DOS computer system,” Comrade Abdulah said as civil society groups, OWTU members, students and UWI staff gathered to discuss “People Power and Constitution Reform” at the Arm Chair Discussion on September 11th. The event is held annually as part of the activities of the Department of Economic’s Conference on the Economy (COTE). COTE 2014 was held in honour of Professor Dennis Pantin, a former Head of the Department of Economics at UWI St Augustine. Dr. Olabisi Kuboni – Chair of the Constitution Reform Forum; Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath – Head, Department of Political Sciences, UWI; and the OWTU’s General Secretary, Comrade David Abdulah led the discussion.  Given the longstanding relationship which the OWTU enjoyed with Professor Pantin the Union partnered with UWI to host this important activity.

  • Post-Budget People Sector Forum

    "This budget does not excite me", economist Indera Sagewan Alli said at the Post Budget People Sector Breakfast Forum hosted by the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union and the Co-operative Credit Union League of Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday 9th September. She was referring to the 2014/2015 national budget that was read in parliament by Finance Minister Larry Howai the day before.

    Sagewan Alli went further to say that though she anticipated the many "goodies" mentioned in the "election year budget", she lashed out against the government for using the budget primarily as a political tool and not as an economic tool to chart a sustainable path for the country. 

    Other speakers that addressed the packed OWTU Paramount Building were OWTU President General Ancel Roget, President of the Co-operative Credit Union League, Joseph Remy, General Secretary of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs Akins Vidale, President of the Trinidad Unified Farmers Assoc. Shiraz Khan, OWTU Education and Research Officer Rosa Whittier, and President of the Trinidad Youth Council Sean Nicholson.

    Participants included students from schools in the San Fernando area and trade unionists, credit unionists, other citizens and members of NGOs. OWTU Chief Education and Research Officer, Ozzi Warwick was the chairperson for the programme.

  • JTUM Commemorates 3rd Anniv. of SOE

    President General Ancel Roget described the 2011 State of Emergency as "one of the darkest periods" in Trinidad and Tobago's recent history. On August 21, 2014, Joint Trade Union Movement leaders and activists marked for the third consecutive year, the anniversary of the State of Emergency with a silent protest at the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain. The activity aimed to remind the public of the Peoples' Partnership government's legacy of violating/taking away citizens' rights in the name of democracy and national security.

  • Annual Conference of Delegates 2014

    “Trinidad and Tobago is in a state of decay,” feature speaker Professor Jerome Teelucksingh said at the OWTU’s 75th Annual Conference of Delegates. “Workers within the progressive labour movement need to be forces of change to rescue our people and T&T,” he said to a packed hall of participants from various trade unions, credit unions, civil society groups and specially invited guests. President General, Ancel Roget also delivered a stirring address at the Opening Session on 25th July 2014 at Paramount Building. The following day, delegates from various units of the Union conducted a thorough review of the last year’s operations and confirmed the financials and plan of work for the year to come.

  • OWTU Butler Classics 2014 Results




  • Several thousand celebrate Labour Day 2012 in Fyzabad

    A spectacular outpouring of workers made the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of labour in Trinidad and Tobago a memorable one. From all sectors, in a myriad of colours, workers made the pilgrimage from Avocat Junction to Charlie King Juction, Fyzabad in honour of those who had fought, bled and died for peace, bread and justice for all in Trinidad and Tobago. The day started with the Butler Classics races, then ceremonies to honour Tubal "Uriah" Butler and La Brea Charles. After the Rally, there was a powerful re-enactment of June 19, 1937, followed by a cultural show.