Former workers attached to the ArcelorMittal Steel plant in Point Lisas want to believe that Wednesday’s announcement of the sale and purchase agreement for the plant is good news, but they are concerned about the lack of information relating to the deal.
Guardian Media was told that news of the plant’s possible reopening was seen as a positive but Timothy Bailey, president of Steel Workers Union of Trinidad and Tobago, said workers are concerned that when the plant is restarted they will once again be left out.
Bailey said that one of his members sent him an excerpt from TT Iron Steel Company Ltd’s release where the company announced the deal to acquire the facility, which left them wondering if former workers would be considered.
The excerpt stated, “TT Iron does not have hiring preferences, the company is an equal opportunity firm. Employees will be hired based on their respective skills and competency levels.”
That note was in response to the question, “Will preference be given to former employees?”
Bailey added that the union is in the dark about the deal and the plans for the plant as he said it had not been contacted by TT Iron.
Bailey added that the union was also curious about the limited details given in deal, as workers were still reeling from the fact that ArcelorMittal suddenly in 2016, leaving workers with no recompense. He also noted that to date there had been no amendment to laws to prevent a re-occurrence of such, leaving the union and workers wary that any new company could shut down the plant and leave them without compensation again.
“They keep on pushing these workers. Workers hearing that the plant going to reopen, obviously the first reaction would be one of joy but when you really examine how it appears right now, the signs are not good,” said Bailey, “We are trying to be optimistic, but the signs are not good.”
In the release announcing the acquisition deal, TT Iron stated, “This is a private transaction, bound by confidentiality agreements.”