We’re not leaving without our money

The work permits of 32 Chinese labourers have been sent to the Ministry of National Security for cancellation to facilitate the workers being sent back to China.

For a third day in a row, the Chinese labourers failed to turn out to work yesterday at the Aranjuez Government Secondary and Five Rivers Government Schools after some 70 workers protested earlier this week over living conditions and not being paid for the past two months by the contractor.

According to sources, the disgruntled workers told BLCC officials that they will not leave Trinidad until they are fully paid.

Sources at the National Security Ministry yesterday revealed that instructions were given for no information to be given to the media regarding the issue of the protesting Chinese workers.

The Work Permit section of the Ministry and the Immigration Department are overseeing the cancellation of the work permits of the 32 Chinese labourers.

Approximately 40 workers turned out at the construction site of both schools while the rest of the labourers remained at the Ramsaran Trace, Cunupia compound under the watchful eyes of senior officers from BLCC.

Newsday learnt the company has since hired an attorney to handle the matter and to speak to the media on their behalf.

On Tuesday night, police arrested 70 Chinese labourers outside the Chinese Embassy in Port-of-Spain and returned them to their squalid camp in Cunupia. Earlier that day, the angry Chinese nationals walked about two miles from their camp to the Uriah Butler Highway to protest the non-payment of two months worth of salaries.

The incident led to Labour Minister Rennie Dumas saying that he will ask the conciliation department of his ministry for a report into the protest.

Dumas said that according to the law, the Chinese workers were probably hired either through the collective bargaining process where their representative negotiated the terms and conditions of employment or through a contract negotiated between the employer and employees.

In the absence of these two negotiation processes, the workers will fall under the guidelines of the Minimum Wage Act.

Dumas yesterday said that the pay records and other documents are being obtained from the Construction Corporation TT Ltd (BLCC) to determine whether there is any truth to claims by 70 Chinese labourers that they are being exploited.


"We’re not leaving without our money"

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