Statement by OWTU General Council on TCL

Monday 2 February, 2015


The  Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union has always been warning about the poor management performance of Trinidad Cement Ltd. over the last 8 years. We continuously expressed our concern over the operations and poor management decisions that had very adverse impacts on the company. We therefore supported the new Board’s decision to remove senior managers including the CEO Rollin Bertrand, General Manager Satnarine Bachew, Operations Manager, Harrinarine Dipnarine and Group Human Resource Manager, David Ceasar because of their failure at the helm of TCL. The OWTU has also been calling for the restructuring of TCL in order to improve the operations of the Company and therefore increase its profitability. 

However, the OWTU is very clear in terms of any attempt to takeover the Company by any one entity, in particular, CEMEX. This position is consistent with the Union’s position in 2002 when CEMEX was attempting to take over TCL and the Union led a campaign to ensure that TCL remained in local hands. We believe that any takeover of TCL by any foreign company is inimical to the interests of the TCL workers, the Company, the Country and the nation as a whole. We will do everything possible to prevent the loss of such a valuable national company to a multinational giant such as CEMEX or any other company.

The OWTU therefore vehemently oppose repealing Article 5 of the Articles of Continuance which will remove the 20% ceiling on the number of shares owned by single individual or corporation. If this restriction is lifted by repealing Article 5 it would enable one entity to gain majority control of TCL. 

The TCL issue involves matters that are beyond the shareholder value. If our economy is to grow and be strengthened then there will be need to encourage strong, competitive companies that are locally owned and produce for both local and foreign export. TCL is certainly such a company. It is indeed not just a major national player but it is also a major regional player. If the article is repealed and the 20% restriction is lifted then it open the door for Cemex to takeover TCL and it would represent a weakening of efforts to build local and regional firms that will create wealth for the country to benefit.   

If CEMEX were to take over TCL then a major precedent will be set that will have negative far reaching implications for ALL companies that are listed on the local stock exchange. It will usher in an era where global companies will begin buying out local companies which will have a serious adverse impact on our economy. We can wake up one morning and find that our economy and the majority of our national resources are in foreign hands. If such a situation occurs then it would be foreigners who will dictate the future of our country. Is that what we want or our country? It is certainly not what OWTU wants for our country. The OWTU’s ideological position is that the valuable resources of the country belong to the people of Trinidad and Tobago. We have always struggled for and will continue to struggle for local ownership of our country’s resources.


TCL is a good company with the vast potential to be extremely profitable. It is strategically important to Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean. It is appreciated that the construction sector is a key component for local and regional economies and therefore an important cement plant like the TCL Plant must remain in local hands to ensure that the benefits of this key economic activity are not shifted away to foreign hands.  It is a company that we as nationals can be proud of. Join us is saving our local economy. 

OWTU General Council