Bus with TCL strike-breakers hit by boulder

(Trinidad Express) A 24-seater bus transporting strike breakers out of Trinidad Cement Ltd’s (TCL) Claxton Bay factory was struck by a boulder yesterday, in an incident described by the company as “an act of terrorism”.

No one was injured in the attack near St Margaret’s Junction, Claxton Bay, which happened at around 3.15 p.m.

Michelle Langton, TCL Group Public Relations manager, said the workers were being shuttled to their vehicles at Paraiso Entertainment Centre in Macaulay when a boulder was hurled at the vehicle.

“The workers park their vehicles at Paraiso and take the shuttle to work. The workers were returning to their vehicles after the shift ended when someone hurled a boulder at the bus. The glass was shattered. Everyone in the shuttle and the shuttle behind were traumatised by the incident,” Langton said.

TCL’s general manager Satnarine Bachew yesterday described the incident as terrorism.

“Luckily, no one was injured; the missile went over the heads of two girls in the shuttle. This is an act of terrorism and desperation by the union to further intimidate workers exercising their rights to come to work,” he said.

One of the passengers seated in the maxi-taxi said when the boulder was thrown, the sound was so loud, she felt like she was in Afghanistan during a terror attack.

The passenger, who did not want to be named or have her face shown on camera, was speaking on CNC3’s nightly news programme last night.

Another passenger in the shuttle said she heard what sounded like a “loud explosion”, and then there was a “shower of glass” inside the vehicle.

She said they told the driver to speed up, in case more missiles were thrown at the maxi-taxi.

Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) branch president Lawrence Renaud said he was informed of the incident, “but I cannot say who threw the stone at the shuttle. We need to investigate what happened.”

The union served strike notice on the company after wage negotiations broke down three weeks ago.

The workers have embarked on a 90-day strike, but several workers have secretly accepted individual packages being offered by the company.

The names of some employees who have opted to return to work have been posted at the entrance to the company, and the tyres of some vehicles belonging to company officials have been punctured by nails.

Police officers have been hired by the company to protect workers going into the Claxton Bay compound, but striking workers have continued to threaten workers in an increasing volatile dispute, the Express learned.

Yesterday’s incident was reported to officers at the St Margaret’s Police Station.

 

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