New attacks on TCL workers

THE home of a Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) employee was fire-bombed, two houses were stoned, and an alternative road leading into the company’s Claxton Bay facility was covered with an oil slick.

According to TCL’s management, the target of the attacks are the workers who have accepted the company’s proposal to return to work.

The Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU), which is representing the striking workers, has denied all knowledge of the incidents, and maintain that it is involved in a peaceful protest.

TCL chemist Wayne Benjamin said two Molotov cocktails were flung at his home in Claxton Bay on Sunday night.

Benjamin told his story during a press conference at the company’s Claxton Bay office yesterday.

He said: “I was in the process of preparing lunch for today and I heard my neighbours’ dogs barking. I heard a loud noise. I ran to the front of the house and saw fire. The fire was isolated to the strip of concrete at the front of the house.”

The incident occurred around 11.23 p.m.

Benjamin, a father of two boys, said no one was injured.

The Express learned that a closed circuit camera captured two men running from the scene. The footage was handed over to officers at the St Margaret’s Police Station and the matter is being investigated.

Last Saturday, rocks were thrown at the home of a lab employee and a similar incident happened at the home of another worker last week.

Last Thursday, a 24-seater bus transporting strike breakers to their vehicles, was struck by boulders.

Benjamin said, “The random, unrelated, unconnected attacks seem to have been directed at persons who have been very vociferous and very adamant of not supporting the strike and activities and other things. My name was placed on a list on Facebook and my name ended up at the top of a list as a scab (strike breaker) and it would seem that I am under some sort of attack because of my stance that I have taken in terms of not supporting the present strike action. I am of the firm belief that Trinidad is a free country”.

He said verbal threats were also hurled at him while driving past the strike camp.

“I pass here very often and people saying ‘I know where you living, you safe here, you not safe home’. Maybe it is for me to rescind what my position has been and join the picket line,” he said.

TCL’s human resources manager, Keith Johnson, said oil was thrown on the roadway leading to the cement factory early yesterday morning to prevent vehicles from using the entrance.

Johnson said the alternative entrance was being used by workers to bypass strikers and get into the facility.

“That is ridiculous because this goes to show that the union has increased intimidatory tactics, putting vehicles coming into the access road at risk. Employees are also at risk. Their tactics have gone to personal intimidation, because they are losing the battle on the front line,” he said.

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