Strike disrupts operations at UC Rusal facilities
Trade and production workers at UC Rusal's Windalco, Port Esquivel and Kirkvine bauxite plants have vowed not to return to work until the company addresses claims that were awarded by the Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT).
The workers took strike action Monday morning, shutting down operations at the plants as they pressed their demands.
They told The Gleaner that the company is insisting that if they do not sign contracts which reportedly have no provision for pension, redundancy, and overtime payments, they would not be allowed on the compound.
"UC Rusal has also gone back on a promise they made to us that they would give five workers $30,000 a year as education assistance. If the company does not come to us with solutions, then everyone will have to wait at the gate," a representative for the workers told The Gleaner.
Vincent Morrison, president of the Union of Clerical Administrative and Supervisory Employees, said the workers are upset because despite their wage and fringe benefits negotiations going to the IDT three times, the company has failed to address some basic things.
"They have failed to address overtime pay, redundancy, health insurance, and payment for work done on public holidays," said Morrison, who was on location at the gate of the Ewarton, St Catherine-based Windalco plant as the workers protested.
"The temporary workers who are part of the union do not get travelling [allowance] or medical coverage. We have to fight like hell to get sick leave for them," he added.
Morrison said the terms and conditions up to 2010 were satisfactory until UC Rusal made the staff redundant and ushered in what they called fixed-term contracts, which allowed the company to not provide certain benefits.
The Gleaner was unable to reach the company's management for comment despite making several calls.
It remained unclear what effect the industrial action had on the facilities' ability to meet their daily quotas.
The union has called on the prime minister to intervene.