TCL cement prices drop after strike curtailed

In a press release issued this week, TCL general manager, Satnarine Bachew, announced that the temporary surcharge imposed on bagged cement has been removed and prices would drop as a result of the court-ordered break in the industrial action by trade unionists against TCL.

Bachew said a 42.5 kilogramme bag of cement was increased by TT$13 during the recent industrial relations impasse. He said the company was forced to increase prices two weeks after workers began strike action on February 27.

TCL began importing bagged cement from its subsidiaries in Jamaica and Barbados, after the Oilfields’ Workers Trade Union (OWTU) served strike notice following a breakdown in negotiations. The strike ended 92 days later after the OWTU requested that the matter be referred to the Industrial Court.

“The additional charge was driven by the higher cost of satisfying the local cement demand due to extenuating circumstances created by the strike (among these, the importation of cement and clinker, an intermediate product in the manufacture of cement) from other TCL Group operations in Barbados and Jamaica, administrative and other logistical challenges,” he stated in the release.

However, Bachew said cement prices are expected to revert to “pre-strike prices”.

According to the Trinidad Express, cement retailed at TT$49.50 to TT$54.50 per 42.5 kilogramme bag of TCL Premium Plus before the strike.

Bachew said the company’s production was back to full capacity, removing dependency on imported product and clinker.

“There have been significant operational and financial setbacks from which we are still recovering, however, we indicated that our ex-factory prices would revert by end of July and therefore, we are duty bound to honour our word within the specified timeframe,” he stated.

Bachew said, however, that the company will be reviewing its pricing regime in the 4th quarter of 2012. TCL thanked its loyal customers, shareholders, investors, employees and other stakeholders for their understanding and support during a “very challenging period” in the company’s history.

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