‘ Because of greed the small man is accustomed to not eating and they still don’t want us to eat.’ These were the words of a dismissed employee from United Engineering Services LTD (UESL).
The employee who was in protest with other wrongfully terminated employees on Friday stated that they were not asking for anything extreme, just the rightfully basic treatment that they are supposed to receive. “We working twelve hours per day seven days per week, we supposed to be getting an hour lunch, we supposed to be getting overtime and we supposed to be getting a subsistence which is money or a meal and we not getting that,” he said.
He went on to state that the aforementioned were the minor things that they were trying to get the company to abide by.
“I was wrongfully dismissed on Monday because in a meeting I voiced some concerns on behalf of the workers. As soon as the meeting was finished I got laid off.”
Another employee stated that on a meeting Thursday, the company refused to negotiate the terms of the workers one being the reinstatement of workers who were unjustly fired and another being overtime rates which according to the workers were never paid. Furthermore was the term of improved working conditions. They had no negotiation, they just refused blatantly, stated the worker.
“The working conditions are poor, we haven’t been getting any overtime since the job started, this is one of the biggest projects if not the biggest project in the country right now we are working twelve hours a day and we are getting eleven and a half hours pay. The wages are not good, the conditions of work are not good, the tools we are working with are not good and the workload is a lot.” said the first employee.
He stated that workers were being sent home unjustly and gave the example of two safety officers being sent home with one man being brought in to do the job. Another employee stated he was concerned as the supervisor placed in charge was not qualified to be a first aid trainer.
When asked what they thought the reason for their unfair treatment was, the response given was that due to Trinidad not having work those who are working could be victimised. “They keep reminding us that there are people at the gate every morning,” he said.
“Delegates from the client company and the Ministry were here for a walk through and they spent about four hours but they did not allow us to talk to anybody because they were fearful that we would raise some of the concerns we had on the job.”
“The small man has nothing to get with these people and them,” he stated.
On the 13th of October, the Minister of Trade and Industry, The Honorable Paula Gopee-Scoon, congratulated the Point Lisas based engineering company (UESL) on being awarded the contract to the commission, build, and install the Zandolie gas platform located in the Gulf of Paria for Denovo Energy Limited.