RADHICA DE SILVA
Former workers of Lennox Petroleum faced off with police outside the home of the company’s chief executive officer during a protest in San Fernando yesterday.
The officers were forced to call for backup as the workers refused to move saying they were owed millions of dollars in back pay.
“The police protecting the rich and mighty,” one man shouted while others clapped and marched in a circle.
Having won two court cases at the Industrial Court and the Court of Appeal, the workers accused the company’s directors of defying the court order to pay their retroactive pay owed for the period January 2016 to December 2018.
Worker Dillon Morales told Guardian Media that many workers were suffering and the police were acting unfairly.
“We are hearing that the Marshall will come to seize his assets and we will get paid but days passing and nothing happening,” he added.
Morales said the company had caused pain to workers who had toiled to bring him profits.
“We are within our rights to protest. The court made that ruling in black and white. The police told us they want us out of the area because we are on the man property but that was not true, we were on the road ,” Morales said.
Meanwhile, another worker Vernon Perez said they have been waiting 71 days since the court judgment, hoping that the company would pay its outstanding dues.
He added that workers will not stop their protests saying they had a right to peaceful protest once it was being done within the confines of the law.
Lennox Petroleum told Guardian Media last week that it does not owe any back pay to workers. The company acknowledged that there is an order dated the 8th July 2020 which orders the company to pay retroactive monies to workers.
“We appealed the said order and filed for a stay of execution. When the stay of execution first came up for hearing on the 30th September 2020, the union gave an undertaking not to enforce the said order pending the determination of the stay of execution application. On the 23rd November 2020, the stay of execution was refused. However, the Appeal was expedited and is carded to be heard on the 28th June 2021,” the company said.